HOUGHTON - Fourteen paraders made their way around the conference room at the Michigan Technological University Lakeshore Center on the waterfront in Houghton Thursday evening carrying plates of sweet treats at the seventh annual Parade of Confections.
A fundraiser for the Copper Country Community Arts Center, the parade was an opportunity to gather confections from various donors in the area and give eventgoers the chance to bid on the desserts for a good cause.
Paraders, including Jessica Spear, Diane Eschbach, Gail Mroz, Adam Johnson and others, carried the confections around and let the bidders take a gander at the treats during the live auction while paddles went high in the air.
Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Diane Eschbach displays one of the items auctioned off Thursday evening as part of the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s seventh annual Parade of Confections fundraiser at the Lakeshore Center.
"Boy, he's just got those moves," auctioneer Phil Musser, from the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance, said of parader Philip Johnson, president at Finlandia University, drawing laughs across the room.
Some paraders kept the crowd entertained by running between bidders to tempt them to bid higher.
"This is, after all, a fundraiser for the community arts center," Musser said.
Not only was the Parade of Confections held at a different location, this year's event was extra special as additional donors promised to match whatever dollar amount was raised on each sweet treat.
"We usually make a couple thousand (of dollars)," Cynthia Cote, director of the CCCAC, said. "But this year, we expect it to double."
The parade is usually held at the CCCAC in Hancock, but this year, the Lakeshore Center was chosen instead. Tables displaying jewelry up for auction, the desserts and hors d'oeuvres lined the walls while Mike Irish set the mood for the evening with his guitar in the corner of the room.
"We thought it would be a nice idea to interface with the business community a little bit more and to use this beautiful space that has not been opened very long," Cote said. Three flat screen TVs displayed at the entrance showed photos of all of the desserts.
Kristin Beck of Calumet saw a flyer for the Parade of Confections and thought the event would be interesting to attend.
"The hors d'oeuvres are wonderful," Beck said. "The desserts look so good. It's going to be hard to make a decision."
Harriet King sat patiently and with a group of friends and watched as each dessert passed by. She even bid on - and won - a plate of desserts early in the evening.
"That one's mine," she said of the chocolate torte she made for the event.
The last dessert of the evening, the dessert drew "ohh"s and "ahh"s from the crowd as it was carried around the room.
King said she was approached to make the dessert for the event and made it in years past as well. It took five hours to make the dessert and the ingredients include alcohol, coffee, eggs, sugar, butter and chocolate.
"There's so many layers to it," she said. "You should see it from the inside."
For most the evening, confection connoisseurs bid on desserts with breaks in between to auction off additional handmade goods to raise money for the CCCAC. Musser, dressed in a suit from Celebrations, read information about the bakers for each dessert during the auction.
"The directions on this one says, 'Skip your meals for a day,'" Musser said of a cheesecake.
Desserts auctioned include a chocolate molten torte, caramel macchiato cheesecake, grasshopper pie, chocolate espresso torte and a gluten-free mandarin almond cake, among others.
Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at email@example.com.