Sweet tooths delight in dessert fund-raiser

NAWILIWILI — Last year the Eat Dessert First event worked to indulge 750 sweet tooths, and this year that number was significantly higher.

“We didn’t print that many tickets this year, but they went fast,” said Melinda Uohara, president of the Zonta Club of Kaua’i.

Uohara explained that they had 750 tickets last year, and worked to get those distributed.

Based on that, Uohara said, they started out with less than that this year, but on Wednesday, were egged into printing extra tickets.

“Those sold real fast,” she said. “The extra tickets were gone in about an hour.”

“And, we still have people showing up that don’t have (presale) tickets,” Uohara said the night of the event.

The Eat Dessert First event started around 11 or 12 years ago, MaBel Fujiuchi, another Zontian, explained. “I’ve been in the club for 23 years, and before this, we used to have a Holiday Festival.”

Fujiuchi said that around Thanksgiving, the club would host a craft fair as a means to raise funds for their scholarships.

“But the club thought they would like to try something different, and because there weren’t any events around this time (Valentine’s Day), we thought it was something that would fit,” Fujiuchi said.

“We didn’t count the first one,” added Mary Thronas, another Zontian. “So, to be safe, this is the 11th annual.”

Robin Savage-Thompson served as the chairperson for this year’s event that was held at the Terrace Restaurant at Kaua’i Lagoons.

Savage-Thompson noted that there were several new items for this year’s event. The most popular were a pair of chocolate fountains manned by Dimples Kano and Jessica Matsuoka. Patrons could select from fresh pineapple or strawberries and have them dipped in dark or milk chocolate.

As well as the chocolate, the Kaua’i Chocolate Company provided ice cream in various flavors including pina colada and macadamia nut.

“I gave up tennis practice for this,” said volunteer Kelli Okamoto, a member of the Interact Club, as she rushed between the kitchen and the tables with more desserts.

Okamoto said about 10 members of the Interact Club turned out to help with the event that now serves as a major fundraiser for the Zonta Club of Kaua’i scholarships.

In addition to the popular chocolate fountains and the ice cream, Thronas noted that this year’s sugar-free table had a lot more selections.

“It’s new and improved,” Savage-Thompson laughed, crediting the efforts of Kathy Watson-Todd.

Decorations featuring red, white and black balloons as well as candles in heart shapes on the tables were provided by Joy Miura-Koerte, Savage-Thompson said.

Outside the dessert area, there was bidding on a wide selection of items in the silent auction area handled by Uohara.

“She really worked hard on this,” Savage-Thompson said. “She got a lot of items for guests to bid on this year.”

Fujiuchi, who sits on the Zonta Club’s scholarship committee, noted that in addition to the scholarships presented to high school seniors, she noted with pride that each year, the Zonta Club presents a scholarship to a non-traditional student (usually a mother) who is returning to school.

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