Hagen History Center

Event Spotlight: A Starlight Soiree

The Hagen History Center’s outdoor event season is in full swing. Warmer weather and sunnier days have us all excited for the busy schedule of events ahead. Our first event spotlight will showcase Erie Dawn’s “Starlight Soiree” – which was held at the Watson-Curtze Mansion on May 13th.

Erie Dawn is a local non-profit organization that believes all people have the right to live in a setting that safeguards human dignity. In partnership with area landlords, they provide safe, affordable, independent, transitional housing for low-income women and children. Their mission first began in 1995 when the Sisters of St. Joseph, Benedictine Sisters, and Sisters of Mercy came together to address the critical housing need for homeless women and children. (https://www.eriedawn.info/about)

Since then, they have helped over 1000 women and families, and grew independently as an organization. Their staff has made vital contributions to the Erie Community, and are some of the most passionate and empathetic women I have had the pleasure of meeting. While they are small in numbers, they are indeed very mighty. The Hagen History Center is proud to have hosted their annual Gala this year.

I first met with Dr. Suzanne Kugliowski (executive director) and her team back in August of 2022 to tour our space. Mentioning their event theme was to recognize the past, present and future – Dr. Kugliowski knew the Watson-Curtze Mansion was a great fit. A mutually shared vision, we too are deeply rooted in the past, steady in the present, and treading optimistically to the future. Knowing that Erie Dawn’s main purpose is to provide hosing, a house venue seemed quite fitting.

Like many organizations, COVID put an abrupt halt on many large fundraisers, gatherings, and celebrations. Making their triumphant return this year, Erie Dawn knew they wanted to “go big.” Their use of the Watson-Curtze Mansion and grounds were exquisite, and truly exceptional. No leaf went unturned, or detail spared.

Indoors, guests were encouraged to peruse the mansion’s 10+ exhibit rooms. The first floor was beautifully staged with cocktail tables and seating. Sounds of a jazz trio echoed from the foyer throughout. Catering was provided by our exclusive catering partner, Make It Fabulous. Guests delighted with passed hors d’oeuvres, carving, and heavy appetizer stations throughout. A full-bar in the solarium gave way to easy access inside and outside of the mansion.

Being one of the first warm days of the year (finally!) – the outdoor set-up was a huge hit. A stunning display of white peaked tents provided the most inviting atmosphere. Outdoors, the lively band “Mambo” provided incredible upbeat rhythm and excitement. Silent auction items and a balloon arch photo booth were popularly perused.

The star of the show was definitely the bourbon and cigar tent with outdoor lounge furniture. With the backdrop of the mansion on a beautiful summer’s night, it felt like a step back in time. Outdoor food included a grilled cheese food station, conveniently placed amongst small 2-person cocktail tables for a more intimate seating option.

The Erie Dawn Starlight Soiree was a beautiful success inside and out. Dr. Kugliowski, the Erie Dawn team and planning committee truly brought their vision to life for such a memorable evening!

For more information on hosting a private event with the Hagen History Center, please visit www.erieweddings.net or contact events@eriehistory.org. Reduced non-profit rates, and weekday rates are available.