FUNDRAISER - Aspire Special Needs Centre staff at the 24th annual Evening of Decadent Dessert. Michelle Sluchinski, executive director, Rachel Bysterveld, fund development officer, and Melissa Vine, fund development coordinator. Michelle Falk/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Red Deer special needs children’s charity host 24th annual fundraiser

Aspire Special Needs Centre hopes to raise $120,000

Nearly 600 people gathered at Westerner Park for a fundraiser in support of a local charity devoted to helping special needs children and their families.

“It’s really our annual big family reunion, so we’re so pleased to be here,” said Michelle Sluchinski, executive director.

Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre runs the event, Evening of Decadent Dessert, annually and it is their most significant fundraiser of the year. They hoped to raise $125,000 at the event, which would make up about a quarter of the annual budget required to run their programs.

The highlight of the evening is a live auction, featuring one-of-a-kind desserts created by local bakers — both professional and hobby. The cakes were sold individually or in combination with high-quality auction packages.

There was every type of cake design you could imagine on display around the room: a wedding dress, vintage sewing machine, lion’s head, giant pineapple, a scene from the children’s movie How to Train a Dragon, along with many others.

Local country singer, Jamie Woodfin and band, donated their talents to entertain guests with well-known covers.

In addition to the live auctioning of dessert, the event included a silent auction, raffle events, as well as art made by the children involved in the programs up for sale. Guests also enjoyed a champagne reception and buffet dinner.

All the proceeds raised at the event will go to support the programs and services at the Centre, as well as fee assistance for families.

Aspire has operated in Red Deer for 33 years, this is the 24th annual Decadent Dessert fundraiser they have hosted.

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