OWATONNA — The beginning of the annual Young Life Cake Auction was met with a crack of thunder coupled with winter conditions on Saturday morning, but the organizers were blown away with what the community accomplished in six short hours.
“We brought in just over $80,000,” said Lindsay Thompson, the Young Life Owatonna area director. “We had a goal of $70,000, and we surpassed our $74,000 record.”
The gym was filled to the rim with people who love children, the Young Life mission, and of course fancy cakes.
“I don’t think weather has really stopped a lot of people in the past around here,” Thompson laughed. “It was just reassuring that it’s a day that you really see the support. All year long we have support, but [Saturday] was a full day of hearing it from people and seeing it as they walked through the door.”
Because of the weather, Thompson said they received more calls than ever before and at one point had more than 900 viewers on their live stream. While the event doesn’t check in every single person in attendance, Thompson is confident that “hundreds and hundreds” of people stopped in to look at the cakes, which they always encourage.
“People are just so creative,” she said in regards to the variety of fun and unique cakes that were sold during the auction. “My kids loved the Dr. Seuss one, which was made by Tim Van Gelder who won the People’s Choice Award for the fourth time.”
Other cakes included replicas of Instant Pots and Yeti coolers, as well as bonfires, grills, and a plethora of other items that corresponded with their auction items.
Two cakes sold for $2,300 during the auction. While the cakes were worth it alone, those who prevailed walked away with either a homemade shuffle board or a fine dining experience provided by local community members.
“It’s pretty common to have one or two in the $2,000 range,” Thompson said. “It was really exciting to be in the gym and see that, and we had so many more kids at this event this year earning money for camp that it was great for them to see how many people in the community support them.”
While the weather may have caused some anxiety, Thompson said she was always confident that the day would be a success.
“You hope and you pray and you work all year for it, so when you hear the weather forecast of how bad it might be, you do worry,” she said. “But we have such a great community that I never doubted it would be a good day. I trusted that the community would come out and support Young Life.”