Even passing rain showers Friday night couldn't dampen the spirits of more than 1,000 people at the Sertoma Mariucci Fiesta at the Confidence Learning Center.
The Fiesta highlighted Camp Confidence's biggest fundraiser of the year, with the 34th Annual Golf Classic Friday morning and the 24th Annual Fishing Classic following on Saturday.
Steve Mau, Sertoma president and emcee of the Fiesta, put a positive spin on the brief rain, saying, "It looks like God is on our side. Now more people can move inside and bid on the silent auction items."
Missy Lake (left), Bryan Barrer, Betty Rosenberger and Mark Korte served food at the Sertoma Mariucci Fiesta Friday at Camp Confidence.
» Purchase reprints of this photo.Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
Jeff Olson, executive director of Camp Confidence, was ecstatic about the turnout for the dinner, entertainment, and auction.
"Dick Endres, the founder, always said, 'The Lord won't let us down and we won't be rained out' and we weren't," said Olson. "We expect to raise somewhere between $70,000-80,000 and it's the Brainerd community stepping up to help the camp. We don't ask for tax dollars and your donations, so we depend on these donations. Tonight is a success and it's working."
Even standing in the long line for the generous buffet of food was made easy with volunteers keeping beer cups topped off. People came for an assortment of reasons, but contributing to a good cause was the motive rooted in everyone's mind.
View a photo gallery of the event.
Hoot Gibson, Hastings, has come to the golf tournament along with buddy Steve Schneider, administrative vice-president of the Minnesota Jaycees, for the past few years.
"We are hackers, we have plowed many a field on the golf course and we know that and it still doesn't bother us," laughed Gibson. "We support both the opportunities (Camp Confidence) provides and no tax dollars are involved, this is what a charity is supposed to be about."
Lee Seipp, Nisswa, has been involved with Camp Confidence for around 25 years, dating back to her teenage years.
A large crowd turned out for the annual Sertoma Mariucci Fiesta Friday at Camp Confidence.» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
"I was a lifeguard here back in my high school years and I have always supported the camp," said Seipp. "Confidence Learning Center is an amazing facility. They provide services to many many people."
Ken Olson, a fishing guide from Oakdale who has been guiding at the Fishing Classic since 2002, brought along his wife Laurie and daughter Kaylee to the Fiesta. "I love the fellowship and knowing that I can do some good," said Olson, who fishes the pro circuit.
Andrea Holmes, Baxter resident and a Sertoma member, has been helping out with Fiesta for four years.
"A good part of it for me is that I see so many people from the area that I enjoy, I have fun while I'm volunteering," she said.
Gibson best summed up the general opinion of the large crowd.
"It's a wonderful opportunity to spend the day outside, to support a great event, and it beats being at work."
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