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'Gala on Gilligan's Island' theme for Plum City event

Peggy Moen, Joyce Berger, Tom Stout, Marie Berger and Tim Stauffer at Ave Maria Academy’s gala.1 / 3
The monkey catches a ride in the Gilligan car built by the middle school students of Ave Maria Academy.2 / 3
The dessert table featuring decadent treats courtesy of Bob and JoAnn Larson at Ave Maria Academy’s gala. (Submitted photos)3 / 3

PLUM CITY--After a long snowy and cold winter, guests welcomed the tropical scene at Molly’s on Main when they attended the seventh annual gala sponsored by Ave Maria Academy in Plum City.

The invitation to sail away with the seven castaways for a multi-hour tour was very tempting. The sellout crowd was greeted with scenes reminiscent of the popular TV series, “Gilligan’s Island.”

Decorations included items such as: the hut where Gilligan and the Skipper slept featuring the hammocks for beds, the ever-popular Gilligan’s car which was constructed by the middle school students of the academy, and a lagoon as well as several palm trees completed the tropical feel.

Food was aplenty as guests sampled appetizers including Ellsworth Creamery cheese curds and cheese cubes, fruit kabobs, crab and chicken spread on baguette bread, and snack mix. The wine tasting area was busy as Dawn Bechel, Barb and Emily Murphy poured wine provided by Eau Galle Cheese. Wine choices complimented the menu of a mixed green salad with tropical toppings, rolls, macadamia nut and curry-crusted mahi mahi, Kahlua pork, honey glazed carrots and mashed taro root. A gala meal would not be complete without the decadent desserts from Bo Jo’s Creations, which consisted of coconut cream pie, Pina Colada shooters and chocolate volcano cakes.

As always, the work of the students was a popular stop on the silent auction. Some of the projects included: a framed photographed cross created with student’s hands, a thumbprint dove, mosaic tray, tile coaster sets, scrolled paper cross, a turtle made from terra cotta pots and a gazing ball created from a bowling ball. The middle school project of a cherry-stained rustic log and cedar shelter built around a Virgin Mary statue brought high bids on the live auction.

Chris Bechel was on hand as the Master of Ceremonies. Guests took part in a game which allowed the winners to be rescued from Gilligan’s Island. The seventh and eighth grade students were on hand to serve hors d'oeuvres and to let the guests see the second eighth grade graduating class of the academy.

Excitement began building with bidding wars starting at the silent auction and continued with even bigger bidding wars at the live auction. Fred Winkler provided his auctioneer services for the evening and again did an outstanding job. Some live auction items that have been popular with past years included: Mary T. Wieser’s hand made quilt, Captain Morgan fruit baskets, Rick Bauer’s wood turned bowl, ready mix concrete donated by Cemstone, handmade knife courtesy of Nick Mesenbourg of NDM Knives, flowers of the month from Bo Jo’s Creations, an airplane ride with John Thuerauf as the pilot, four hours of backhoe or skid steer service from Deja`vu Trucking and Excavating, a stay at Old Cow Town in Colorado, a hope chest from Rally Bat and Amy Fetzer’s convertible ride to Vino in the Valley. Back by popular demand was “Gardener for a Day.”

New items this year included an outdoor reclining chair from Plum City Hardware, a five-piece Southport Sling chat set from Jeff and Ann Bechel, a Kindle Fire HDX, Copper Art Pieces from Wieser Precast of Williamsburg, Ia., Beats Pill stereo speakers from B Wireless, a Wisconsin fire ring, binoculars, quarter of a beef from Albert and Peggy Knegendorf, processed quarter of beef from Julie and Dennis Behnke, and 60 pounds of hamburger from Todd and Billy Mark. For the gamblers in the crowd, a treasure chest loaded with cash and lottery tickets seemed to be a big hit.

Numbers are still being gathered for the total success of the evening, but clearly the total will exceed $55,000. Academy parents, staff and students are very blessed with the outpouring of support.

The academy is a private school teaching in the Catholic Traditions. To find out more information, call (715) 647-4630. Registrations are currently being accepted for the 2014/2015 school year for three-year preschool-eighth grade.