COLE CAMP — It was a full house at the fifth annual Chocolate and Wine Tasting Gala, in Cole Camp Sunday afternoon, with the popular fundraising event selling out before the door opened.
The event hosted at the Abraham Lincoln American Legion Post 305 is a fundraiser for the construction of the new Cole Camp Community Center.
Gala Coordinator Teddie Schnell said on Sunday that the fundraising event for the center is coming along well.
“If we had a major donor, which we are looking for, we could close it up and and get it started,” she added. “One major donor would get us on the map for the grants.”
Schnell said that the gala is becoming so popular that it was sold out again this year before the doors opened on Sunday.
“In my three years that I’ve been chairing it, it’s been sold out,” she said. “In fact I’ve already turned away probably 90 people.”
On Sunday approximately 150 people attended the event.
Community Center Board President Dianne Simon said many people would be arriving for the gala from other communities.
“There’s about 18 coming from Boonville,” she added.
Schnell said that people from Iowa would be attending as well as people from Herrman, Jefferson City, Springfield, plus chocolate lovers from Sedalia, Lincoln, Warsaw, Tipton and Marshall.
The women agreed that there were well over 100 desserts, plus savory finger foods and three wineries represented.
“It’s all donated food,” Schnell added. “It’s all homemade.”
Residents of Cole Camp volunteer their time, each year, to prepare the tantalizing desserts and appetizers. Wine tasting this year was available with Eichenberg Winery, of Cole Camp, Wild Life Ridge Winery, of Smithton, and Arcadian Moon Vineyards, of Higginsville.
Those attending the gala could also bid on silent auction items such as a giant coconut creme pie, or a Kansas City Royals baseball signed by Edinson Volquez. They could also have their photo made in the “Just Get in Photo Booth.”
“We had $4,500 worth of donations for the silent auction, and $600 in donations in door prizes,” Schnell noted.
Simon added that they hoped to bring in approximately $4,000 to $5,000 with the gala this year.
Those attending were enjoying the event including veteran gala attendees and first timers.
Terry Scheid, of Marshall, was attending for the first time with seven of her friends including Tracey Walton. Scheid said she found out about the gala because a friend posted it on Facebook.
Anne Goosen, of Lincoln, brought her mother Kim Gumbel, of Sedalia, for her birthday. This was the second time for the women to attend the event.
Joni Dillion, of Sedalia, who has attended for three years, brought her girlfriends. She said she enjoys the event each year and they always have fun.
“You can’t have chocolate and wine without girlfriends,” she said smiling. “There are four of us. “Usually when you have more than three girls together they start bickering. So this is why we have wine and chocolate, because it helps keep us mellow.”
Jeannie Cable, of Sedalia, has also attended for the last three years. For the past two years, she’s brought friend Chris Rogers, also of Sedalia.
“It’s just a fun thing to come to in the dead of winter,” Cable said. “There’s lots of wonderful chocolate, fabulous food and the wine is great. I love seeing all the people, it just a fun thing. You go home feeling very relaxed and kind of mesmerized after the wine and the chocolate.”
“I didn’t know what to expect last year, but I really liked it,” Rogers added.
The women said they were undaunted by the cold weather on Sunday.
“It was worth getting out for,” Cable added.
Those interested in making a donation to the Cole Camp Community Center fund may call Simon at 287-7989.