Dessert came first at a sparkling dinner and celebration of arts education and outreach at the Wells Fargo Center.
In truth, no one sliced into the magnificent, professionally baked and decorated cakes that adorned each table until after dinner. But the edible masterpieces were central to the April 12 Art of Dessert, a benefit for programs of the Wells Fargo Center that extend art enrichment to children and teachers.
The evening in the center’s main theater and lobby began with champagne, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and music by Elsie Allen High’s jazz band.
A panel of judges strolled from one dinner table to the next, eyeing and resisting a stolen taste of the centerpiece cakes donated by pastry chefs from throughout the North Bay.
The 300-plus guests savored a dinner complemented by fine wines, then bid for live-auction treasures such as an acoustic guitar signed by Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill and Richard Thompson. High bidders Daniel and Juneko Steele made it theirs for $15,500.
The auction and the following fund-a-need raising of paddles helped the evening to raise more than $300,000 for the Wells Fargo Center programs that do much to bring arts exposure and education to local children.
The hosts presented the 2014 Arts Benefactor of the Year honor to the Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation. Then, at last, the guests had a go at those cakes.