By Meagan Stilp
HANCOCK - With Valentine's Day just around the corner stores are full of teddy bears, cards and, of course, candy. This year, forget that heart shaped box and grab your friends or significant other and head over to the Copper Country Community Arts Center's annual Parade of Confections.
"We start the event with a parade of the desserts to be auctioned off," said Cynthia Cote, CCCAC executive director. "It's very fun - there's live music and local professionals, artists and design majors from Finlandia University are all part of the parading crew and they take the desserts around the room. It's just a visual extravaganza. People really dress up - it's arty, classy and fun."
The parade takes place on Valentine's Day from 6 to 9:30 p.m. This year the event has moved to the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock, offering more space to add additional fun to the annual event.
"It's a year of changes - we're excited to add on to an already popular event," Cote said.
The Parade of Confections has been an important fundraising event for the CCCAC for many years. However, it has only recently been associated with Valentine's Day.
"We always held our dessert auction in December and then about four or five years ago the light bulb came on - why are we trying to sell desserts in December?" Cote said. "So we attached the event to Valentine's Day and it became a Valentine's Day themed event and it has really grown from there."
This year 16 bakers are contributing to the dessert auction. Attendees will have a chance to view all the options before the auction begins when the desserts are paraded around the room. Auctioneer Don Kilpela, who is also the captain of the Isle Royale Queen, will facilitate the bidding on the often one-of-a-kind creations.
"So many of them can't be bought anywhere. We have a lot of home gourmet bakers make desserts for us and some professionals as well," Cote said.
Although the prices can be high for many of the auctioned desserts, there are many opportunities at the event to support the CCCAC and still get a sweet Valentine's treat. Smaller dessert items will be available for straight purchase - no bidding necessary - and there will be a silent auction of art, jewelry and gifts made by local artists. If one of the auctioned desserts is too tempting, Cote suggests sharing.
"We also encourage people to do team bidding. The auction is really fun - it gets competitive, the crowd gets excited, it's just a really fun event," she said. "We encourage people to pool resources and go in together on a dessert because some of them are so wonderfully rich, it might be nice to share."
New to the event this year is a cake raffle. Raffle tickets will be sold during the event and at the end of the night the winning ticket holder will take home a dessert. Also new this year is a dance performance by Pasicats.
The Parade of Confections is open to anyone.
"It's really a mix and not really geared towards men or women or couples," Cote said.
Tickets are $10 and will be sold at the door. They are also available in advance at the Copper Country Artists Association at 126 Quincy St. in Hancock.
For more Valentine's Day events and restaurant specials, check the Daily Mining Gazette.