The Soldotna Chamber of Commerce's (SCC) annual dessert auction seems to get more over the top every year, as participants dress up as their favorite fantasies, and bakers pull out all the stops on creating dessert art to benefit the organization. "It is our only fund raiser of the year, although it's become more of a 'Fun' raiser, with the costumes and bidding wars that take place," said Michelle Glaves, SCC executive director.
"Our 16th Annual Pie Auction was a huge success!Over two hundred twenty five people turned out for a "Wickedly Wonderful" time! Best Dessert went to Janet Pope again this year for her "Pumpkin Pie Maker" pies.Best Costume went to Keri Hiler for her Neytiri costume from the movie "Avatar". The winner of the $1000 Coffin of Cash was Mel and Robert Krogseng of Krog's Kamp. Best dressed group went to Tammy's Flowers and Natron Air for their Hippie costumes, and there was even a special appearance by professional Elvis impersonator (Shawn Whitmore, of Town & Country Auto) this year that truly rocked the house! And even had our Chamber president Evy Gebhardt screaming like a teenager," reported January Yaeger, SCC event coordinator.
As one of the selected bakers for the event, Gebhardt provided one of over 40 of the culinary delights that were auctioned off, with the proceeds enhancing several scholarships awarded by the SSC every year, as well as the ongoing activities of the organization. The Chamber president's own chocolate torte raised over $1000 towards that end, as did a pie donated by Kenai Mayor, Pat Porter.
The evening's entertainment included several contests including a murder mystery, which thanks to the ingenuity of the staff from First American Title - who came dressed as a full entourage "CSI Crime Lab Team", also included a mock crime scene.
Another highlight of the evening was when Mike Sweeney placed the winning bid of $2,400 for the special Vera Howarth Scholarship Pie, which was actually delicious Baklava made from an authentic Middle Eastern recipe by Lore Weimer. "Mike is my hero! The first thing he did after paying so much for a dessert was to personally serve a piece to everyone at his table, what a guy," said Minnesota-Viking fan Mike Hutton. (Hutton's attire for the evening bore the trademark purple and gold color scheme of a die-hard Viking tailgater.)
With "ad-on's" contributed by those in attendance at the auction, the Howarth Scholarship dessert raised more than $4,000.Vera Howarth was a pioneer businesswoman in the area, starting her Soldotna store, Vera's Variety, back in 1956. Prior to that, Vera sold goods from the back of her car and was greeted enthusiastically when she made her rounds at the Wildwood Military Base. After passed away in 2002 a group of local community leaders in conjunction with the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, established a scholarship that carries Vera's name. The scholarship is awarded each year to graduating seniors who have exemplified Vera's history of helping the Soldotna Community.
"The Chamber would like to thank all the businesses and individuals that donated items and desserts to this fantastic event. Thank you also to all our volunteers, Community Partners and our auctioneer Darrell Hagen and emcee Matt Wilson!" added Yaeger.
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