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Make-A-Wish cheesecake result of community effort PDF Print E-mail

Dear Editor:

At least 100 people crowded into the Make-A-Wish tent at the height of last Saturday’s thunderstorm during Cranberry Fest, seeking shelter from that lashing, soaking rain, which quickly turned everything, inside and out, into a quagmire.

Taking advantage of this captive audience was a no-brainer. My crew and I laughingly told them if they wanted to stay warm and dry inside, they had to buy a piece of the World’s Largest Cranberry Cheesecake.

Umbrellas collapsed and a simultaneous reaching for wallets happened. By the time the rain subsided, there were a lot of people with satisfied taste buds.

Now there will be a lot of kids with medical challenges made happy because of the generosity of people stuck in a big tent during a downpour.

Because of the weather, this year’s cheesecake took a little longer than usual to sell out. There was worry we couldn’t send Make-A-Wish of Wisconsin the annual $7,000-plus made possible by selling $2 slices. Sunday’s crowd picked up the slack. Now we will.

After 22 years appearing at Cranberry Fest, this fundraiser has generated close to $160,000, all used for wishes of those special kids, a significant number who call the North Woods home.

As always, I recognize Kevin Rietveld, head baker at Trig’s, for his expertise and generosity in not only baking the cheesecake with a very special crew, but also for persuading food purveyors around the state to donate all the ingredients. I am deeply grateful to Trig’s for the store’s continual support allowing the use of its Rhinelander baking facility.

My crew is wonderful. They give up a Saturday in fall when they have so many of their own chores to do. Yet they show up with a smile, and keep it on all day. They are the best!

Kudos to the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce, which had a solution for any problem that arose, i.e., straw to soak up every mud puddle (lake!) that appeared. As an organization, it has proven time and again it works hard for this community and always with heart. That attitude shows true with the enormous crowds coming to check out each season’s offering.

The coverage in this newspaper, and on the radio and television, was again superb. Not only does Eagle River stay on tourism’s map, so does Cranberry Fest and the enormous cheesecake, plus all other intriguing, seasonal events.

We are truly grateful to visitors who bought a creamy slice of goodness and munched on it right there, or took it home to enjoy later.

There have been many wishes granted to medically-challenged children from this area. Humbling? You bet. Joyful, too. The smiles of these kids and those of their brave families make this yearly challenge of selling cheesecake slices unforgettable. If you bought a slice or two, please understand that you are part of wish-granting magic.

As I have for the past three Cranberry Fests, I dedicated this event to my late husband, Randy Bergstrom. It was his idea to raise local funds for wishes, which Make-A-Wish Wisconsin provides for these children. I know he was behind that rainbow glowing inside the tent.

Michele Bergstrom

North Woods representative

Make-A-Wish Wisconsin

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 2:48 PM

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