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The Association of Volunteers Has Its Designs on Cincinnati

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

For the past 50 years, the Association of Volunteers has organized The Cincinnati Art & Antiques Festival, a fundraising event in support of Convalescent Hospital for Children and Children's Hospital Medical Center. The group has raised over $4 million over the past five decades, funding special projects for Children's Hospital, particularly in the areas providing care for children with long-term conditions, including occupational and physical therapies. This event has predominately  taken place at Cincinnati's beloved landmark Music Hall, after brief stints at the Sharonville Convention Center, the Alms Hotels and, where the event first began in 1966, The Carousel Inn.

"The Cincinnati Art & Antiques Festival has been a part of the fabric of Cincinnati since 1966," explained the group's Historian Marie Huenefeld. "A high-end antiques show, and a show with a philanthropic benefit, were both relatively new concepts at the time. But the nine volunteers, called Angels, were definitely on to something. Not only has the show continued to grow and evolve, but it has also raised millions of dollars, thanks to a roster that has grown to hundreds of dedicated volunteers." Each year, this event presents a celebrated lecture and luncheon, and each year brings in a design or antiques celebrity as its speaker. Past speakers have included Suzanne Kasler, Martha Stewart, Bunny Williams and James Farmer.

The group launched a refreshed version of the beloved antiques festival, Design Cincinnati, in 2016, focusing on home decor, design and beautiful living, always with a nod to the group's long-standing heritage of antiques. Their first guest was HGTV's Vern Yip. Over the years, they have welcomed Eddie Ross, Susanna Salk and Thom Filicia.

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