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Everything Came Up Roses For 2022 Trade Secrets

Nonprofits

One of the region’s biggest fundraising events was blessed this year with excellent weather and a convenient new location. Trade Secrets was created by famed designer Bunny Williams as a way to support Women’s Support Services, a domestic violence prevention agency that is now based in Lakeville, Conn.  Williams is at far right in the photo on this page, second from the top.

The two-day event has become a huge draw for visitors from as far away as Georgia, Texas and California, who come for both the Saturday Rare Plant and Garden Antiques Sale and for Sunday’s garden tours.

This year’s Trade Secrets was a celebration of 40 years since the founding of Women’s Support Services. Executive Director Betsey Mauro said the nonprofit’s staff is continuing to expand, which is why the main office was moved from Sharon, Conn., to a new location in Lakeville.

“We’re growing our staff because we’re growing our programs,” Mauro said, especially prevention education.  “We are now doing programs at all the schools in the Region One School District here in Connecticut, in grades six through 12; we are about to begin programs for students in fifth grade as well.”

This year was also a celebration of the return of the Trade Secrets fundraising weekend, after a two-year hiatus during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And for the first time the Saturday sale was held at Lime Rock Park in Salisbury, Conn., which made parking, access and pick-up of purchased plants easier for vendors and shoppers alike.

Vendors also had the option of doubling the size of their sales space this year. Mauro said that the number of vendors remained at 55, which is about the usual number invited  to take part in the sale day.

The six gardens for the Sunday portion of the event were offered on an a la carte basis this year; visitors could tour three public gardens for $10 each, or visit the three private gardens for $20 each.

Mauro said there are no final numbers on attendance and sales (the nonprofit gets a portion of all the Saturday sales), but she expects that figure will be robust. She credited “all our wonderful vendors and volunteers, who make this possible.” She also praised Lime Rock Park, which she described as “a commercial venue in a lovely pastoral setting, with infrastructure that is designed to support events of a certain size.” In the recent past, the Trade Secrets Saturday sale had been  held at a private estate in Sharon. Although nothing is settled yet, Mauro anticipates that next year’s sale will once again be at Lime Rock Park.

Anyone who would like to be on a planning committee for next year can send an email to info@wssdv.org or call 860-364-1080.

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