The Soldotna Chamber of Commerce 19th Annual Pie & Desert Auction was a graveyard smash with zombies, vampires and super heroes bidding their ways to succulent treats and high end prizes. Those attending the sell out event were treated to a special performance by zombie dancers from Peninsula Arts in Motion and Chamber dead heads to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It was a double lucky night for Lee and Andrea Frey who took a walk down memory lane with their costumes as Prom King & Queen as they hit two out of three raffle prizes for $2,000 cash which they gladly spent back at the auction. “This is the Chamber’s only fund raiser of the year, and helps raise money for the Chamber’s Scholarship fund, which awards $16,000 to 6 local recipients each year. The funds raised also go towards community events such as Peninsula Winter Games, Lemonade Day, Progress Days and many others,” said event coordinator for the Soldotna Chamber January Yaeger.
This year’s best dessert was awarded to Haley Bowen of Advanced Physical Therapy, who made a beautiful rendition of the infamous Poison Apple, which brought the high bid of the night from James Tangaro of Tesoro. Best Costume went to Judy Joseph of Century 21 Freedom Realty for her Silver Salmon Costume. Best Group Costume was won by Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and Sweeney’s Clothing for their rendition of Custer’s Last Stand.
Since 2002 the Vera Howarth Scholarship pie has been a highlight of the annual pie auction because of what the scholarship represents. The former owner of Vera’s Variety in Soldotna Howarth moved to Alaska in 1946, opened her store in 1956 and became known as the “Grand Lady of Soldotna” because of her commitment to community service and the city. Until her passing in 2002 she always baked a pie for the auction, was the oldest member of the Soldotna Chamber and was one of only 20 people to ever receive the First Lady’s Volunteer Award from Bella Hammond. In 2002 a group of local community leaders in conjunction with the Chamber established a scholarship that carries her name. The scholarship is awarded each year to graduating seniors who most exemplify Vera’s history of helping the Soldotna Community. Each year a volunteer makes the “Vera Pie” in her honor, which still holds the record price for any pie ever sold $14,000. “The Soldotna Chamber would like to thank all of their Community Partners, Pie Buyers, Local Businesses that donated, our Volunteers, Kenai Catering and all the folks that came out to support the Chamber,” said executive director Michelle Glaves aka The Bride of Dracula.