Saugerties Chamber will auction off artist-decorated rocking horses

(Photo by Christina Coulter)

The Saugerties Chamber of Commerce will host the “Rockin’ Gala and Auction” this Saturday, September 16. Some 45 rocking horses, decorated by local artists and placed throughout Saugerties on Memorial Day this summer, were relocated to the Saugerties Performing Arts Factory for storage and refurbishing on September 5.

This year’s raffle horse, a black rocking horse adorned with a rhinestone bridle and saddle named “Bedazzled”, was painted and bejeweled by Rick Heidemann and Chamber of Commerce chair Mark Smith.

Last year’s gala, which featured free-standing stallion statues and was entitled “Gallopin’ Around Saugerties,” brought in an estimated $27,000, according to Smith. Proceeds from the event are split into thirds, with a portion going to the artists, another to the chamber, and the third to a local non-profit. Two thousand dollars will go to providing two college scholarships for local graduating high-school students.


In the last nine years of similar galas, the subject has varied. In 2011 and 2012, artists decorated lighthouses with functional beacons in honor of the Saugerties Lighthouse and the 200-year anniversary of Saugerties’ incorporation as a town. In a subsequent year, metal boxcars were decorated and auctioned.

“We were inspired by Catskill and their cat [auction],” explained Smith. “They helped us a lot, getting started. They shared their application and guidelines with us.”

The event, which starts at 5 p.m., will take place at the SPAF on 169 Ulster Avenue. Tickets will be sold for $25 at Town & Country Liquors, Smith Hardware, the chamber’s visitor’s center and on through PayPal. Raffle tickets will also be sold online and at the liquor store at five dollars apiece.