Kingston's Pirate Invasion

Among Irene's many losses were the supplies that food activist Diane Reeder of Kingston had assembled for her snow day lunch program for area children. Reeder, executive director of the Queens Galley, strives to make sure that no one in the area goes hungry, least of all children on snowy days, and she was pretty sure she knew a few people who would agree.

Of this need was born the Shiver Me Timbers Pirate Invasion Online Auction and Treasure Hunt, a fundraiser for Queens Galley that runs through Sunday, January 15.

The "treasure hunt" part of the auction is rather ingenious: Bid sheets for the auction are posted in stores and restaurants throughout Kingston, with QR codes that can be read by a smartphone. Scanning the code reveals hidden local discounts and deals.

It wasn't a hard sell to the business community, says Reeder's co-conspirator Holly Christiana of Kerhonkson.

"I approached 100 Kingston businesses and well over a third said yes," says the single mom. "I guess the community consensus is against children going hungry."

The auction opened on January 5 with 38 items that beg the overtired adjective "eclectic": an evening hanging out with a former Olympic hockey great, a weekend at the Plaza doing Broadway up right, a Bob Dylan rare gold record display, tickets to the ESPYs, and a "custom pirate coat" on offer along with more modest items like baskets of cheer, Y memberships and restaurant freebies.  

Or, as Reeder puts it, "Kinda cool to see our local stuff and some truly unique items side by side. Seriously, where else would you see a Deisings layer cake auctioned next to a guitar atuographed by Cher?"

Since the auction opened, more items have been added; bidding is brisk as of this writing.

The Invasion concludes with a pirate bash on the Kingston waterfront on Sunday afternoon -- fetching up around 6pm at Dermot Mahoney's Irish Pub for the finale, with NYC band Three Pints Shy on hand to provide the shanties.