PINEDALE – The Museum of the Mountain Man’s annual fundraiser brought an appreciative audience Friday, Dec. 1, that bid on a wide range of Christmas centerpieces and wintertime wreaths to handmade embossed chocolates and homemade fudge.
Auctioneer Jay Fear took competitive bids for several dozen festively decorated traditional wreaths of greens and grapevines, birdhouses, milk cans, a mini hay-filled sleigh with a vintage team, horseshoes and horse collars, antlers, stained glass and even a “pollinator beehive” made from spiraling rope.
Sage and Snow Garden Club’s willow planter grabbed the most votes as “people’s choice” and Julie Early, who has made a wreath every year for the past 14, gathered lush greens and ribbons for the second favorite on display in the Lovatt Room.
The garden club’s planter was auctioned off several times as buyers donated the lovely piece back for resale, as did a number of other wreath buyers.
One longtime tradition – of the Gayle McMurry Kinnison wagon wheel wreath – was retired Friday after years of being sold and brought back to benefit the Sublette County Historical Society and museum programs.
“This wreath has brought more than $15,000 through the years,” said society director Clint Gilchrist. “Gayle meant a lot to this institution and it’s meant a lot to us.”
He also announced that the museum is planning its second annual Western Art & Wine Auction summer fundraiser next year, during the annual Mountain Man Rendezvous in July.
Gilchrist said more than $10,000 was raised at this year’s wreath and chocolate auction.
He said 43 wreaths or chocolates were donated for the event and 31 bidders made sure everything sold, with some bidders buying multiple items. n