Dessert focus of fundraiser

Ed and Anna Peterson of Salem, Ore., have already adjusted their Kaua‘i plans around this particularly sweet event.

The couple was enjoying the Zonta Club’s “Eat Dessert First” Friday evening, saying this is the first time they’ve been to the event.

“I already have the plan for the next time,” Ed said. “Eat the good stuff, first. Then the chocolate.”

That indicated the couple is already anticipating returning to next year’s event.

On Friday, close to 1,000 people converged on the Kaua‘i Veterans Center to enjoy a variety of dessert and dessert-type offerings provided by members of the Zonta Club as well as numerous community businesses, all overseen by Judy Dalton.

“We sold 700 tickets, but there were more that were purchased at the door,” said Katie Beer, one of the ticket collectors. “There are a lot of people in here.”

Kapa‘a Junior ROTC cadets maintained a steady flow of traffic through the parking area that quickly overflowed onto the Kapule Highway grass shoulders and into the Vidinha Stadium parking lot.

“I was lucky,” hostess Shelly Cobb said. “I parked in the ditch. Where did you park?”

Cobb maintained a steady flow of banter throughout the evening, providing patrons with information on the offerings, pointing out special deals in the silent auction area and introducing some of the entertainment acts that filled the hall with music.

“I bid on the belly dancing bells,” one patron said. “Nobody else has bid on it yet, so I may end up having to take belly dancing lessons.”

That was midway through the short 2 hour session the desserts were available.

Additionally, a rectangular cake created by Pastry Chef Olry Yadao of the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa sat atop a pedestal while dessert fanciers browsed the offerings below.

“This one is special,” Beer said. “It has a lobster made of blown sugar and even a postcard featuring the landscape of the Grand Hyatt. We’ll be auctioning it off in a live auction.”

Students from the Kapa‘a High School Interact Club were busy refilling plates and platters from the kitchen while other groups manned two chocolate fountains to prepare chocolate-covered fresh strawberries for patrons to enjoy.

A portion of the proceeds from this unique event goes to help the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i Foundation with its student scholarships program.

“We definitely need a bigger venue to hold this in,” one patron said while trying to work through the crowd.

Previously, the event, celebrating 12 years this year, was held at the Terrace Restaurant at the Kaua‘i Lagoons where the event took up the former Masters Restaurant, while the silent auction overflowed into the Terrace buffet area.

“There was a lot of room because it overflowed outdoors,” the patron said. “But since it closed, there’s nothing that’s big enough to hold it. Even the convention hall isn’t big enough.”

With about an hour left for diners to enjoy the evening, Zonta Club president Melinda Uohara was already in her car.

“We’ve run out of coffee cups,” Anne Barnes announced. “She’s going to get more coffee cups.”

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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