Litchfield News

Record-setting money raised by Possum Queen fest (01-02-19)


Longtime Possum Queen Festival and Auction supporter Steve Sage was named Possum Queen for 2019 on New Year's Day. Below, Sage was in his glory while the Mattatuck Drum Band played. BZ photos

It was a record-setting New Year's Day for the Possum Queen Festival and Auction.

The annual extravaganza at the Litchfield Inn drew a huge crowd and by preliminary estimate raised more than $100,000 for the Possum Queen Foundation. Proceeds will help the PQF assist local individuals and families facing medical hardships.

"It just keeps getting better and better," PQF President Billy Neller said of the event shattering last year's record of $80,000.

Named Possum Queen for 2019 was Steve Sage of Cornwall, a supporter of the PQF's mission for many years. Sage was part of a group that bid $55,270 for a can of possum soup. The bid broke last year's record of $33,200.

A bouquet of wilting roses and the Possum Queen sash went to Sage, who wore the sash proudly.

"This just makes me feel wonderful," Sage said of his new title. "I'm happy to share it with all of the people who have generously donated over the years."

A silent auction run by Patty Buonocore DiChillo and Dana Bongiorno raised more than $10,000 and a live auction run by Sandy Bruens pulled in many more thousands of dollars. Donations poured in at the door, where guests were welcomed by Joe DiChillo and Sunny Roper.

Plently of laughs were provided by a spoof of the movie 'Grease' by Ian Campbell, Rey and Lesley Budny, John and Christi Concilio, Darrin and Lindsey Murphy, Mike Lamere, Lori Stickney and Jenny Matthews. The Mattatuck Drum Band was back to perform opening and closing ceremonies.

Steve Sage, with Jenny Matthews, was a proud Possum Queen.

Dana Bongiorno hands Steve Sage a bouqet of wilted roses.

Steve Sage gets a congratulatory kiss from Jenny Matthews.

Sandy Bruens takes bids for the can of possum soup.

Judge Charles D. Gill and Sunny Roper, as Wonder Woman.

Ian Campbell as Danny Puko and Jenny Matthews as Sandy.

Ian Campbell and Jenny Matthews

D.J. Murphy as Fabian.

The PBirds, from left, John Concilio, Rey Budny, Ian Campbell, Mike Lamere and Darrin Murphy.

Ian Campbell romances a bottle of vodka.

Lesley Budny, left, and Lori Stickney.

Ian Campbell, left, and Mike Lamere.

D.J. Murphy as Fabian.

Jenny Matthews played Sandy.

Ian Campbell, left, makes his point to Rey Budny.

From left, Mike Lamere, Rey Budny and Ian Campbell.

From left, Christi Concilio, Lesley Budny, Lori Stickney and Jenny Matthews.

Ian Campbell, right, and Rey Budny.

Sunny Roper, as Wonder Woman, pours champagne.

Sandy Bruens, left, runs the live auction with help from festival co-founder Billy Neller.

Possum Queen Foundation Vice President John Bongiorno greets the crowd.

Bill Pierpont leads the Mattatuck Drum Band into the ballroom.

Val Caron of Bantam was one of the band's drummers.

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