They may have been the most expensive cupcakes ever purchased in Tillsonburg.
The winning bid for the final live auction item Friday night at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ingersoll, Tillsonburg Area’s Bid for Kids Sake was $25,000.
The item… 12 cupcakes.
A dozen peanut butter cupcakes baked by Denise Vyse, to be precise.
Premium cupcakes to be sure, but when Bid for Kids Sake auctioneer asked for an opening bid of $500, 240-plus people at the Tillsonburg Community Centre Lions Auditorium laughed.
Then the bidding started to jump. Explode. Auctioneer Jared Pettman asked for $1,000 and got it… $5,000… $10,000… $15,000 and finally $25,000.
The three primary bidders were Mike Murphy, Joe Graves and Mike Van Boekel, from Unifor Local 88. Van Boekel, who made the final bid, announced it as a donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Area.
“The original idea was his (Murphy’s),” said Van Boekel.
“His idea was to come up with a way to get they money to the people,” said Van Boekel, who came up with the auction details.”
“Denis (Vyse), she works at Cami, so if anyone wants to buy $2,000 cupcakes…” joked Graves.
“She just wants to sell a dozen a day,” Van Boekel laughed, enjoying the moment.
“We had arranged it with Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Graves noted. “So they were very aware of it.”
It wasn’t well-known, however. Even their wives didn’t know.
“My wife said, ‘We have a party… buy those cupcakes them home for tomorrow night,’ said Van Boekel. “I said, ‘okay, if you want me to.’ She said, ‘buy them.’ Okay. When we were bidding, she said, ‘What are you doing?'”
“It was a lot of fun watching the table,” said Murphy. “There were people looking at us saying ‘what are you guys doing?'”
“The one girl at our table said, ‘I’m going to bid $30 for those,'” said Graves. “At $10,000 she said, ‘I can bake those!’ I said, ‘oh no, I’m good.'”
The Unifor Local 88, who annually sponsor Big Brothers Big Sisters, made the donation as a way of saying thank to the community for its support during a recent strike. Earlier they donated $25,000 to the Town of Ingersoll.
“The excitement!” said Deb Landon, BBBS of Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Area excutive director, noting it was the Unifor Local 88 reps who had approached Big Brothers Big Sisters with the idea.
“They came to us,” said Landon. “They’re our sponsor for the event, so when they said they wanted to meet with Nicole (Killaire) and I, we said ‘is there a problem with them sponsoring this year?’ Or are they maybe going to do something else.
“When they told us, I think we both sat there with our mouths hanging open. ‘Is this for real?’ We were in shock, it was so much excitement.”
The reaction in the room was priceless.
“The one table, they had pooled their money together,” said Landon. “They were up to $130. Then they said, ‘well, it’s $150, we’re done.’ I thought ‘that’s cool, we might have to cupcakes again.'”
The $25,000 donation will not count toward revenue generated by the auction and battle of the hors d’oeuvres, Landon noted.
“We still have our goal of $40,000 for the auction and this was a separate donation to us. It’s just that they wanted a really unique way to give to the organization and they said, ‘well this will be a cool way to do it.’ So they had it all planned.”
According to a media release on the weekend, Friday’s event, which had 250 people bidding in the live and silent auctions and enjoying tasty hors d’oeuvres provided by seven local restaurants and catering companies, raised just over $40,000.
“It’s going really well,” said Landon. “Well attended – a full house, as always great support. Great auction items, and everyone was complimenting on the hors d’oeuvres. We never know until the end of the night when everything comes in.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Area gave a big shout out to all sponsors, donors and attendees – especially to Unifor Local 88 – for making this year’s 14th Annual Bid for Kids Sake and 10th Annual Battle of the Hors D’Oeuvres one that will never be forgotten.
“What an amazing community we live in!” said Killaire in the media release.