On Saturday, June 3, join the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center (EWECC) and spring into summer during EWECC’s second annual Barn Dance at Kilmore Farm in Wainscott. The evening will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center and honor Maureen Wikane, who has served as Director of the Center since its inception.
“The Barn Dance is a lot of fun. It’s really, really a unique event. It’s at a horse farm in Wainscott, south of the highway, it’s this really absolutely beautiful layout, impeccably maintained. It’s just this really wonderful spot,” shared Mariah Whitmore, who is spearheading the host committee. “It has that very Hamptons vibe – I do feel like some of the events out here are starting to move away from that and it’s missing. So a grounding element is actually the location because it is the Hamptons and that’s where you’re giving your money back to – the community, towards working parents, towards families that need it.”
Starting at 6:30 p.m., partygoers will enjoy music from the Roadhouse Band, irresistible southern cuisine from the Art of Eating, a silent auction and more.
“We do line dancing instruction so it’s kind of a little more western country than the Hamptons, but it’s a fun event,” said Mariah. “People relax – they actually show up in the theme, which is really fun to see people wearing cowboy boots and cowboy hats and some jean jackets. It’s a lively event.”
For the Whitmores, the summer benefit will be a family affair with Mariah following in the footsteps of her grandmother Eleanor, who the Center is named after. “It means quite a bit to carry on her mission. She did a really excellent job cultivating people to be involved in the Center who are really interested, who understood the core mission, and I have to give them a lot of credit for continuing to grow the Center in such amazing ways,” Mariah shared. “The ability to then be able to come in and really work with them and to further the original idea and to actually grow it – because grandma is still around and she has some pretty amazing ideas on how to expand the Center, including infant care – if we’re able to work together to achieve that it would be quite an amazing thing. So that’s what I really hope to do – to further her original goals for the Center and her current ones. She’s still active and she still has a lot of great ideas. It’s important to me to try to execute them.”
Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center is the sole not-for-profit educational organization that offers full-day, year-round child care in East Hampton. “I don’t have children myself, but I have a lot of friends who grew up out here who now have children and I see them struggle with childcare,” she said. “There’s not enough childcare organizations. A lot of childcare can be incredibly pricey and the quality that you get for the price you pay at the daycare is a really wonderful thing that they do there.”
Only around 25 percent of the Center’s revenue comes from parent fees, the rest comes from tuition reimbursement, grants and tax-deductible charitable donations. “A lot of the money raised is used for operation expenses and then we raise a lot of money for scholarships, which really goes back to the core mission of affordable childcare,” Mariah noted.
The Barn Dance is an exciting way to bring together the community for an incredible evening of Hamptons fun with some southern flair while supporting EWECC. “We really have such a great time and I couldn’t ask for a better location,” said Mariah. “The Eagan/McCaffrey family has been incredibly generous for lending us that spot because it’s actually a private horse farm so not a lot of people get to see it. So it’s kind of a special night in that way as well.”
Tickets to Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center’s Summer Benefit: A Barn Dance at Kilmore Farm begin at $100 for professionals (under 35) and $200 for individual tickets.
For more information, visit ewecc.org.