On Oct. 6, the doors of the Key Peninsula Civic Center opened to reveal this year’s Flavor of Fall. More than 200 guests were treated to an extravagant evening of friendship, food and a fantastic auction.

This heron sculpture, a public art project completed by hundreds of community members, was among the auctioned pieces. Photo courtesy Katy Macdonald

The center was transformed into a dream world that called upon the community to “dress to the nines” and become part of the celebration.

Attendees indulged in a gourmet meal presented by Chef Ty Shaver and more than 40 volunteers who helped provide support and coordination. Twenty-two high school students were on hand to help.

This year, Flavor of Fall was presented by the Key Peninsula Civic Center and Two Waters Arts Alliance; the organizations will share the proceeds. Funds will help renovate the stage area in the Civic Center and develop Two Waters programming.

The Civic Center was filled to capacity for both silent and live auctions. There were more than 225 items available. Silent auction items included original art, organized theme dinners, gift baskets and countless other treasures. Guests placed bids on paper and watched as others walked by and raised the ante. At announced times throughout the evening, tables were closed to bidding while people scrambled to have the highest offer and secure their favorite items.

During the event, TWAA President Frank Garratt opened a “Raise the Paddle Auction” so people could strictly bid donations. The auctioneer began the paddle event at $5,000 and as the bidding for each amount subsided, lowered the amount to the next level.

That process alone raised $18,000. Later in the evening, a live auction included such prizes as a flight to the San Juans with lunch, a photography tour of Mount Rainier, professional landscape design and 10 nights/nine days in New Zealand. The bidding was spirited and guests made a huge effort to acquire the items they wanted. It was an evening of enchantment and in the end more than $57,000 was raised.

“It was a fabulous affair, the best we’ve had, thanks to everyone in the community,” said Claudia Loy, one of the organizers and the founder of the event.

Flavor of Fall goes back many years and has become an anticipated event. The program has traditionally sold out.

Untold hours were contributed by members of KPCCA, TWAA and the community at large. Members of the team include but in no way are limited to: Claudia Loy, Brynn Rydell, Betty Kelley, Kristin Bottiger, Kathy Bauer and countless others.