The Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s Stampede roamed their way right into the hearts of the community and beyond. We published about Sunday’s farewell event and were happy to help share the list of award winners. But another list of winners remains unclear.

During the online auction process, many individuals and groups, in particular local schools, found themselves in a surprising situation of a bidding war for the oxen the schools themselves had decorated.

“No one knew how much everyone would fall in love with the oxen,” shared Carol Lipson, Hopewell Valley Arts Council (HVAC) board member and Co-chair of the Stampede.

The online bidding was an official public auction with rules and best practices, much like ebay, said HVAC representatives. These rules would have prevented HVAC from intervening, despite some public request to do so. Further, the bidding was anonymous so the highest bidders’ identities have been revealed thus far only by identifying him/herself publicly.

While the bidders’ true identities are not public information, we have received direct confirmation from high bidders from both Hopewell Elementary and Timberlane Middle School will permit the schools to be the permanent grazing location for their oxen.

Proceeds from the online bidding will be going to HVAC to support the mission of bringing arts exposure and programing to the Hopewell Valley area and appreciating “art in the everyday.”

Are you the highest bidder on an ox? Send us an email! We’d love to share. Email at

*For purposes of full disclosure: Mary Galioto is involved with the HVAC Gala planning committee for the live-auction event in January.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council.


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