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Main Event: Gala raises $195,000 for Seasons Hospice

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"Great fun," is how Hilary Battey of Rochester, left, described her first-time experience at the benefit. Emily Elwood of Rochester said she was "excited for the dinner."

On Nov. 16, the Kahler Grand Hotel's Heritage Hall was the scene for the eighth annual Live and Love gala, touted as a wine, dine, mingle, celebrate, dance, laugh party.

The fundraising event for Seasons Hospice was attended by 425, raising $140,000 in a dinner, silent auction and live auction.

New this year was the offering of a sit-down, four-course dinner rather than the food stations of years past. The menu featured the four seasons of the year; Summer salad, fall soup, winter duo entree and spring dessert.

Auctions, always profitable, attracted a great deal of attention. New this year was the use of mobile bidding for the 88 silent auction items. This allowed anyone bidding to receive alerts when their bid on an item had been raised, making it fun and convenient for guests.

There were 13 live auction items, including "Dueling Anchors" by the evening emcees, Tom Overlieand Robin Wolfram, KTTC-TV news anchors. Pie-making with Tom and floral arranging with Robin were fun and popular items.

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Added as a new feature to the gala this year was auctioning off spaces for "Great Gatherings," tours and parties allowing a large number of people to join in the fun.

Andrew Hamiltonwas attending for the first time. "It is a very important cause. There are a lot of young people here and it looks like a lot of fun," he said.

"For me, it's an annual event," said Shelly Knudsen. "I like everything about it and look forward to the music."

Sheila Kiltinenhas also attended many times. "There are wonderful people involved, they are all special and I have such fun each time I attend," she said.

"I am enjoying myself and having a good time with others. They know how to throw a party and of course it's for an important cause," said Sonja Miedtke.

Pete Wingertsaid, "I am here at the invitation of a friend. The dinner is great, the auction items are super and what Seasons Hospice does for our community is so important."

"It's all-around a great time and has a good reputation. It was sold out again this year," said Carolyn Piepho.

Seasons Hospice Executive Director Beverly Hayneswas excited about the evening.

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"We have such positive people working with us and volunteering," she said. "There is a lot going on. This is our major fundraising event and not only is that important, but we also want people to understand that we are celebrating life and offering support."

"It is incredible; the heartwarming support we receive from the community is just incredible," said Julie Assef, admissions Director at Seasons Hospice.

Through the hospice house in southwest Rochester, in-home care, and services available at care centers and assisted living centers, Seasons Hospice provides hospice care and bereavement support to the terminally ill and their families at the end of life.

For more information call 507-285-1930 or www.seasonshospice.org .

On Jan. 28, we'll feature Swingsation, a fundraiser for the Lanesboro Arts Center.

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