Blue Jean Ball puts the 'fun' in fundraiser


February 10, 2023

Jana Peterson

The Blue Jean Ball is about having a good time while raising money for education. From left, Sandy Modin and Karly and Chris Essler celebrate their good fortune during the ring toss Saturday. They won two bottles of wine for their combined efforts at the Cloquet Education Foundation fundraiser.

The 21st annual Blue Jean Ball brought lots of fun and lots of dollars for educational opportunities Saturday, as close to 400 people attended the fundraiser for the Cloquet Educational Foundation.

An event that involves lots of games, dinner and both a silent auction and a live auction, the Blue Jean Ball is the largest fundraiser for CEF, said director Jody Acers. They raised an estimated $42,000 this year. That's money to fund grants submitted by school district staff for educational opportunities, programs and new initiatives. The grants don't replace district responsibilities, but rather enhances learning in Cloquet, Acers explained.

Cloquet school board chair Nate Sandman called it a great community event for the school district.

"This proves that Cloquet cares about education," he said. "The students benefit greatly from the scholarships, extracurricular activities and other programs CEF funds. Without this support, we're not able to provide all that."

Lots of folks mark the date on the calendar; others come when they can - like Regional Realty's Terri Lyytinen, who said she came to support the youth.

"Seeing them excel is going to help our community," she said. "Also seeing everyone come together for our community is great. I don't know of another fundraising event this big."

Here are a few ways people supported CEF this year:

Jana Peterson

• A dozen eggs fetched more than $100 during the live auction, a surprise item that Acers said they threw in there for fun and as a lighthearted commentary on the high cost of eggs these days.

• John Lind's red apron fetched $220.

• The 50/50 raffle set a record with a $3,000 payout, which means the other $3,000 went to CEF.

• Local businesses provided (free of charge) elaborate table decorations and swag for each person to take home, while other businesses, organizations and school groups donated items for the silent and live auctions, and as prizes for all the games people play.

"I am humbled by the generosity of this community and their ability to keep this event lighthearted and fun," Acers said, noting the diverse turnout that included many ages, stages, occupations and interests. "Thank you to all that supported us."


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