The cost of baked goods like most grocery items is going up. Nobody, however, expected the extreme prices fetched at Friday's eighth annual 4-H Bake-off Auction at the Wood County Fair. A plate of cookies sold for a record $800, and the sale easily set a record, netting $8,020.
|4-H Bake sale attendees inspect some of the goodies Friday (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)
The total raised was nearly double last year's total of $4,020.
The best of show honors went to Ryan Wenzinger, a member of the Jackson Livestock 4-H Club.
The top prize was awarded to a layered brownie, that "melted in your mouth" according to one judge who wished to remain anonymous.
Cindy McCarthy and Karen Holley teamed to purchase the brownies for $325.
Now, about those cookies ... They were baked by Karen Kotula, a 4-H adviser for the Dowling Stitch, Stir and Stock 4-H Club. The frosted sugar cookies earned the Best of Class for the Alumni division, one of the four top prizes in judging held earlier in the day.
Her cookies have a bit of history at this event. For two years running, her neighbor, who happens to be Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, purchased her cookies for $450 in 2010 and $400 last year.
After bragging publicly about the cookies, it shouldn't have been a surprise others got into the action. The sheriff bowed out of the auction at $625. He said he was worried about what his family would say when they woke up this morning and there were no cookies for them.
Outbidding everyone for the coveted confections was Tom Stange of C & L Sanitation, Inc., based in Perrysburg.
Like all the bidders, Stange said there is only one reason to spend that much money, "To support 4-H."
Not to brag, but when asked, Kotula said her cookies are "famous" in their own way.
"They all want Mrs. K's cookies," she said. "The kids always ask for them."
Kotula also supported the cause, by purchasing four items, including all the baked goods made by members of her club. Her purchases totaled $1,300.
Those included the Best of Class in the Junior Division, special brownies. Those brownies were also layered, building with chocolate chips, Oreo cookies, as well as regular chocolate brownie mix.
The last Best of Class prize went to Andrew Gast-Clasey, Colorful Clovers 4-H club for another of his delectable pies entered through the favorite dessert class. He had taken the Best of Show award the last two years. His pie sold for $200 this year.
One of the top award winners was sold as part of the 27 lots. Each of the lots featured two or three items, often including cookies baked by the youngest 4-H members, the Cloverbuds. The best buy for any lot was $175 on the night, with most selling in the $200 to $350 range.
Other winners in the junior divisions were Ethan Lenox, Beaver Creek Boosters for muffins and Kylie Brinkman, Beaver Creek Boosters for her chocolate chip cookies.
In the senior division, class winners included Elizabeth Gerken, Colorful Clovers in the quick breads class and Taylor DeSmith, Leaders of Tomorrow for favorite cookie.
Lisa Wilhelm from the Henry County 4-H organization was the other Alumni class winner for her 2-crust blueberry peach pie.
The previous record for the sale was $4,655 set in 2009. Since its inception in 2005, the sale has raised $32,673.
Money supports project books and countless other projects within 4-H.
While many credit auctioneer Steve Powell with the fun and success of the auction, he, in turn, credits the buyers.
"This was unbelievable," Powell said. "The people are so generous."
One of the regular buyers was absent from this year's auction. Cindy Zaker, who operates several booths at the fair including Frank's Fries and Cindy's Concessions, missed the auction for the first time due to the death of her mother, Mary Isch, on Friday morning.
Though absent, she had a representative buy items for her and also donated an extra $200 in memory of her mother.