The Steele County Young Life Cake Auction took on a slight twist this year with the return of a couple of live auction items and the popular Too High or Too Low game. A great crowd viewed the cakes on display at Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna. Most of the cakes and their specials were bid on through an online format. Director Lindsay Thompson announced that $93,050 was raised.

For the first time since before the pandemic, two cakes and specials were featured in a live auction. The big-ticket prizes included a wine-tasting event for 10-12 people (donated by Scott and Susan Peterson) that went for $800. A stay at a townhome in the Bend, Oregon area (donated by Melanie Nelson) went for $3,000. Money raised benefits the Steele County Young Life program. This was the 44th annual cake auction.

In a vote by attendees, Cheryl Ginnetti was named Top Baker in the adult division with her Solo Stove/fire pit/s'mores creation. The teen baker award went to Haley Meiners for a wine cake.

Virtual cakes were auctioned in 2020 and the event was still a strong fundraiser. Cakes were optional last year. Thompson was thrilled to see the cake auction move back toward how it was before the pandemic, "This year we encouraged it [making cakes] and it was so fun to see our community out here to see the cakes." She said the total number of cakes reached about 170, between auction cakes and sale cakes that went for a set price.

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Students and leaders shared personal experiences of their time in Young Life during the program on Saturday. Thompson said Young Life has expanded to include more than just Owatonna students, "Steele County Young Life includes Medford, which they have had an active Young Life program for six years."

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"But we've also had a lot of kids who have come to our camps and our weekly activities from NRHEG and Blooming Prairie and others. So we really wanted to make it inclusive by saying 'Steele County.'" Thompson said they are looking for people interested in becoming local leaders in Blooming Prairie and NRHEG.

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Roy Koenig/TSM
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