basket-of-canned-goods-2Nancy Engh, a volunteer with the Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis, recently assisted the organization in coordinating a fundraiser.  Gift baskets are always popular silent auction items, and Nancy thought that a “State Fair Winners” basket, filled with a collection of canned items that had won first place ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair, could potentially attract several bidders.

Wanting to collect a wide array of samples from winners of the fair, Nancy came up with the idea of contacting winners from the creative activities building in particular.  When all was said and done, eight contributors donated a total of 16 items for this particular basket, from jams, jellies, and chutneys to pickles, syrups, and sauces. 

And the connection to the University of St. Thomas?  Well, as avid Opus Magnum readers may recall, the Full-time UST MBA program’s DeAnn Kautzmann received first prize honors for her fruit chutney at the 2010 Fair.  Nancy called DeAnn to see if she’d be willing to contribute a jar of her famous rhubarb chutney.  Not only did DeAnn readily agree, she also offered to include a jar of her second-place rhubarb jam for good measure. 

The fundraiser was held on the evening of November 12 at the Pillsbury mansion in Minneapolis.  The take for the “State Fair Winners” basket exceeded all expectations and nabbed $525.  The theater had hoped that this collection would bring in close to $300, but a bidding war broke out!  The gentleman who purchased the collection of canned goods is a recreational canner himself and was most pleased to be able to partake of such a plethora of tastiness. 

Considering that DeAnn won only $12 at the State Fair but her chutney commanded about a $33 share of the winning silent auction bid, there may be opportunities for her to pursue an entrepreneurial venture in the future.   Congratulations to DeAnn, Nancy, and the Open Eye Figure Theatre on a successful fundraiser!