Carter Center Weekend, and its annual auction, comes home to Atlanta

Former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter wave to a beauty queen during the Peanut Festival on Saturday September 26, 2015 in Plains. Ben Gray / bgray@ajc.com

Credit: Ben Gray/AJC

Credit: Ben Gray/AJC

Former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter wave to a beauty queen during the Peanut Festival on Saturday September 26, 2015 in Plains. Ben Gray / bgray@ajc.com

For 30 years, the Carter Center Weekend attracted supporters of former President Jimmy Carter to places all over the country.

Now in its 31st year, the Carter Center Weekend is coming home.

For the first time the event — expected to raise millions of dollars at its annual auction — is taking place in Atlanta this weekend.

Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn started the Carter Center Weekend to gather old friends, family and supporters for fun, reflection and fund-raising.

The Carters’ health issues prevented them from making it this year.

Jimmy, 98, entered home hospice care in Plains in February and the family announced in May that Rosalynn, 95, has dementia.

That hasn’t stopped the 300 or so supporters from coming to celebrate them and the nonprofit center’s work around the globe.

Carter Center board chairman Jason Carter and Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander share a laugh at an opening day event at the organization's 31st annual weekend retreat. The event is being held in Atlanta for the first time.

Credit: Michael Schwarz/The Carter Center

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Credit: Michael Schwarz/The Carter Center

“We love having our supporters from all over the country here in our hometown this weekend,” said Paige Alexander, CEO of the Carter Center. “They are hearing directly from our Atlanta-based staff on our work in peace, health, and mental health and gaining a deeper understanding of our mission.”

The nights might be taken up with rapping, bingo, karaoke and Elvis impersonators, but the days are intense and serious with workshops and panels.

In addition to hearing from Carter Center leaders, the group is visiting the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Martin Luther King National Historic Park and the Atlanta History Center.

On Wednesday, as the “weekend” got started, Carter’s former United Nations ambassador, Andrew Young, regaled them with stories about his relationship with the former president.

Young, a civil rights leader and former Atlanta mayor, said that Carter was the “closest thing to perfect” that he had ever met. Afterward, the group danced and ate homemade ice cream.

On Saturday, the weekend will culminate with the annual auction, featuring more than 150 items, including an original painting of a bald eagle by Jimmy Carter. There also are guitars autographed by Bonnie Raitt, Don Henley, the Zac Brown Band, the Moody Blues and Jeff Beck, and memorabilia commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama.

President Jimmy Carter's 2013 oil painting of a bald eagle over a body of water is up for auction this weekend. The opening bid will be $100,000.

Credit: Carter Center

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Credit: Carter Center

Proceeds will support the Carter Center’s work to advance peace and health in the U.S. and across the globe. Last year’s auction raised $4.4 million.

Among the other items that will be auctioned this year:

  • An Atlanta Braves experience that includes four tickets to a 2023 regular-season Braves home game, a valet parking pass, unlimited food and beverages at the game, a $1,000 gift card, a stay at the Loews Atlanta Hotel, and a framed photograph of then-Governor Jimmy Carter and Braves legend Hank Aaron.
  • A bronze bust of President Carter.
  • His-and-hers bathrobes with “James Carter” and “Rosalynn Carter” embroidered on them. The lot also includes two hand towels, one with “R.C.” embroidered on it.
  • A President Carter inaugural collage, which includes a photograph of President and Mrs. Carter walking in the inaugural parade, an inaugural invitation signed by both and a copy of the president’s oath of office that he signed.
  • Fly-fishing memorabilia that includes two fly-fishing rods with “Jimmy Carter” printed on the handles.
  • A hand-turned wooden bowl by Mike Snegg made from Norfolk Island pine from Kauai, Hawaii.
  • Vacations to Hawaii, France, San Francisco and Martha’s Vineyard.
  • A pencil sketch of President Carter by Ken Garot.

For recent coverage of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, click here.