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School on the Road

July 25, 2018
It’s the middle of summer, and your supporters’ school-aged children are far away from the academic world. Whether it’s summer camp, a job, or just hanging out, the kids are definitely in summer mode, and their brains aren’t engaged at the same level.

But mid-summer also means being halfway through the season, and the start of school always arrives faster than one may think. Thankfully, we can help get those kids back into the academic mind state while still having a great time, with one of our non-profit fundraising auction travel packages. They can get a first-person chance to see American (and European) history, adding a little more color to those social studies textbooks.

Here are just a few of our destinations that can help turn a child’s brain back on.

It can be tough for some students to follow along with Civil War history, thanks both to a 150-year time gap and a lack of familiarity with the terrain itself. But with our “History Comes Alive at the Gettysburg Battlefield” travel package, the family can take a two-hour tour of Gettsyburg’s battlefields, while also absorbing a stop at the Gettysburg Heritage Center and Museum, with it three-dimensional photographs, artifacts and interactive displays. Even the accommodations have a historic bend to them; the Battlefield Bed and Breakfast served both as a general’s headquarters and a hospital during the Civil War.

If your donors want to dip back a little further in time, we can send them all the way to ancient Rome, with our “Roman History, Cuisine and Enotecas” trip. Nothing is off limits here – tour the underground portions of the Colosseum and stay at a hotel close to sites like the Forum, the Teatro Marcello and the seventh-century church of San Giorgio al Velabro. Even your supporters’ dining experiences will be influenced by Roman history; after a cooking class, you’ll enjoy your meal in a 17th-century dining room at a historical apartment in the city.

Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. is in some ways the unofficial “center” of American history. This is where the Smithsonian hosts one of the largest collections in the country and where monuments to Lincoln, Washington, and so many others stand proudly. With our “Discover DC in Capital Style” travel package, supporters can take one of the most majestic tours in the country: Seeing the monuments lit up so beautifully at night. Combine that with the free admission at the various Smithsonian museums, and your donors will get a master course in America’s past.

Hey Now, You’re (With) the All-Stars

July 18, 2018
The slowest day of the sports year was once thought to be the one directly after baseball’s All-Star Game. There are no games that day, as the best baseball players are making their ways back to their teams, the other three major leagues are in their off-seasons, and even Wimbledon has just ended.

So maybe that’s why ESPN, faced with almost nothing to cover, decided that the day post-All-Star Game would be perfect for a new awards show, one honoring the year in sports, called the ESPYs. It’s grown since its inception in 1993 into a star-studded affair, and tonight is its night to shine.

We’ve got a non-profit fundraising auction travel package that can take your donors to next year’s ESPYs, but that’s not the only trip in our collection that can have your supporters rubbing shoulders with big name stars. Here are a few other ideas if your auction crowd is looking to see celebrities (and, in some cases, meet them!) in the flesh.

There are few places with more stars than New York City, and our VIP trips to Broadway include a unique way of meeting them: over a meal. Several of our travel packages to see a musical or show include brunch or dinner with two of the production’s stars. Imagine how your “Hamilton” fans will react having brunch with, say, Hamilton and Burr, or maybe a “Wicked” fan might break bread with Elphaba. It’s a chance to chat with some of the most talented singers and actors on the planet, and to do so in theater’s world capital.

The ESPYs aren’t the only awards shows in our catalog. We can take your supporters to see the stars of both stage and screen as they accept awards in Los Angeles or Nashville, too. Whether it’s the Grammys, the Emmys, and the American Music awards in L.A. or the Country Music Awards in the Tennessee capital, they’ll get to see some faces from television and hear some voices from the radio in person. And with after-party passes included in some itineraries, they make meet a star, too – who knows what will happen after the curtain comes down!

If your donors would prefer to spot celebrities “in the wild” rather than on stage, there’s a secretly star-studded sporting event which they can attend: The Kentucky Derby. Spotted here in 2018 were Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, figure skaters (and Olympic commentators) Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, and actors Blair Underwood and Anthony Anderson, among many others. And yes, they use the same betting kiosks and frequent the same bars at Churchill Downs as the rest of us, meaning there’s even the possibility of a chance meeting.

For the Adrenaline

July 11, 2018
For some, an appealing vacation involves something simple: Some sand with a gorgeous view, a frozen beverage, maybe some summer reading. For others, though, the perfect vacation means flying over Arizona, doing aerial aerobics in a world-class aircraft. Or maybe it’s tearing through the ocean on a former America’s Cup-winning yacht? It might even be racing around the track at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, trying to break records on a solo drive!

At Mitch-Stuart, we pride ourselves in having non-profit fundraising auction travel packages for everyone, whether it’s a donor looking to rub elbows with Broadway stars, set out on a cruise around the Caribbean, or learn how to cook with master chefs. For your adrenaline junkie supporters, we’ve got plenty of options that will get their heart racing.

When your donors win the “All-Access, Ultimate NASCAR” package, they get tickets to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, sure. But the trip’s highlight has to be taking to the racetrack and getting behind the wheel of a NASCAR-style stock car. Your supporters start off with some training and technical instruction, then set off for a timed session, driving around the Charlotte Motor Speedway (home of the Coca-Cola 600, one of NASCAR’s biggest races) with just themselves behind the wheel – and their nerves riding shotgun!

Whether it’s in San Diego, San Francisco or Newport, Rhode Island, we can set your donors up with an unparalleled high seas adventure. In an afternoon, your supporters can turn into experienced sea hands, as they take an America’s Cup-contending or winning yacht out for a spin. Led by experienced captains, the “crew members” will get a taste of the work, the speed and the spirit of the ship – this is no leisurely trek (though, if your donors tire, they can relax on the deck and watch the waters crash against the hull – just hold on!).

But the ultimate adventure for the adrenaline seeker may be our “Top Gun” package. It takes your donor to Mesa, Arizona, for a day in the skies above the desert in a two-person monoplane (one wing). There’ll be an instructional warmup, then realistic air combat, practice doing aerobatics and a final low-altitude pass (yes, just like in “Top Gun”). Your supporter will love the hands-on experience, and his or her family will love the in-cockpit video as they see what the effect of g-force has on a person’s face.

Celebrating American Travel

July 04, 2018
Today, Americans across the country are traveling many miles – the most ever, says AAA – and putting aside any differences they may have to celebrate the birth of this country. There’ll be fireworks (in non-fire-risk areas), there’ll be barbecuing and there’ll be families reuniting and friends bonding over it all.
We love our non-profit fundraising auction travel packages to destinations around the world. But on this holiday, it feels right to lay out the case for traveling within the United States, a land so large and diverse that a seasoned tourist could spend a lifetime exploring it.
The American Road Trip: A favorite since the birth of the Interstate Highway System, the road trip is a symbol of the country’s freedom, driving through its wide-open spaces and, unlike other modes of travel, the ability to stop anywhere along the way to sightsee. Whether it’s gazing at the beauty of the Gateway to the West in St. Louis or the absurdity of the second-largest ball of twine in Kansas, there’s something to see along every one of America’s crisscrossing freeways.
Traveling for Food: Barbecue in Texas. Cajun in New Orleans. Pizza in New York (and – yes, we hear you – Chicago). There’s a style of food to experience in every corner of this country, from the heavy Italian in Boston’s North End to the laid-back, light fare simply called “California cuisine.” Pick a destination in the states, and you’ll get experience lunches and dinners that the region has perfected.
Traveling for Pride: National symbols survive for a reason and being able to visit them in person can be an emotional experience. Maybe it’s touring the Statue of Liberty in New York, or walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Maybe it’s the Lincoln Monument in Washington, D.C., or it’s Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. These are each links to America’s past and present, and they can be moving for many.
Choose Your Climate: Miami has beaches for miles. Jackson Hole has all the skiing and wintery outdoor activity a visitor could want. Telluride has that crisp, cool Colorado air, and Los Angeles is … well … Los Angeles – sunny and 72 degrees for so much of the year. There isn’t a climate around the world that isn’t represented over the fifty states, so both summer getaways and winter adventures can be had at home.