Archive for Thursday, February 5, 2004

Chocolate craze

Auction to benefit Baldwn arts

February 5, 2004

Laura Morford can't fathom why anyone would not want to attend Baldwin's annual Chocolate Auction.

"Why wouldn't you want to go to the Chocolate Auction would be my question," the Baldwin Community Arts Council president said. "I don't know of any other place you can go to on a Sunday afternoon for a dollar and get the entertainment you can get there. You don't even have to bid on anything to have a good time."

But Morford is hoping people bid on the more than 200 items up for auction, a majority of them made with chocolate.

"We have some fabulous cooks in Baldwin," she said. "Items range from chocolate chip cookies, brownies, chocolate suckers, pies and cakes to more elaborate pieces."

The chocolate items, along with a number of works of art and donated services, will be auctioned to raise money for the arts council, which in turn will be given back to the community in the form of music, art and drama scholarships, art workshops, Art Walk and other educational arts opportunities.

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Sixteen years ago, the Chocolate Auction raised $1,000 in its first year of existence. Last year, the auction brought in just a little more than $4,000. Morford said the arts council is hoping to have even more success this year, and has set its goal at $4,500.

This year's auction begins at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Baldwin High School, 415 Eisenhower St., with viewing and silent auction bidding. Admission is by a $1 donation.

Morford said there will be several silent-bid tables, including a couple of children's tables, with bidding beginning anywhere from a quarter for children up to $25 an item. Silent bidding will continue until shortly after the live auction begins at 2 p.m., when, she said, the tables will close one by one.

Some of the more elaborate chocolate items, along with works of art and donated services, will be on the auction block beginning at 2 p.m. In past years items in the live auction, where bids have gone as high as a few hundred dollars, have included a chocolate chess set, a chocolate painting and Mary Jane Chubb's infamous pies.

"Mary Jane Chubb pies are always a hit," she said. "People always ask if the pie lady is going to have her pies. That's always a big deal."

She said much time is taken by the bakers with their chocolate items, some even taking days to complete.

"I talked with a woman earlier who was contemplating making a cake, but the cake would take two days to construct," she said. "They put a lot of time into it."

But not everything up for auction is edible, which, Morford said, would help those trying to watch their weight.

"We have a lot of non-chocolate items for the live auction," she said. "There are all those pieces -- art, pottery, photographs, paintings -- all those things, they work for a diet. There are no calories in them."

Morford said the auction is a community event that nearly everyone can enjoy.

"Whether you love chocolate or not, the Chocolate Auction is the place to be on Sunday," she said.

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