Sweets in the sweltering heat

A cupcake lover's paradise in Jaffrey

Sunday News Correspondent
July 20. 2013 12:03AM

JAFFREY - Despite the soaring temperatures, bakers withstood the heat of their kitchens to bake nearly 5,000 cupcakes for last Thursday's 8th annual Night of 1,000 Cupcakes.

If you bake they will come . that was the original idea behind the Jaffrey Civic Center's Night of 1,000 Cupcakes, said executive director Dion Owens.

The center was looking for a way to both celebrate its 40th birthday and draw people to the center to let them know about the exhibits and other actives it has to offer the community.

That first year there were about a thousand cupcakes and about 1,000 people, Owens said.

It was so much fun, it was decided to continue the event each summer.

Last year, the weather cooperated and cupcake donations were high. There were about 2,500 people and more than 5,000 and cupcakes, Owens said.

All the cupcakes come from the community, which drops off the little cakes during the day of the event so they can be judged and counted. Then, in the evening, the public is invited to come and enjoy the tasty treats. Art and professionally-made cupcakes were also auctioned off Thursday, while live music from Hot Mustard entertained the crowd.

The first couple of years, there was no limit on how many cupcakes you could eat, but the past two years organizers have passed out tickets limiting attendees to two each.

"It's a measure to ensure they don't run out of cupcakes until everyone is served," Owens said, "and it makes the event less chaotic."

The new orderly process, though, hasn't dampened attendees enthusiasm.

"We look forward to it every year," said Elizabeth Royce of Troy, who brought her teenage daughters.

It's fun and it's free cupcakes, but you also catch up with old friends," she said. "I always see eight million people I don't see all year. You spend a lot of time visiting."

Face covered in frosting, with a cupcake in each hand, Brennan Schaub of Antrim attacked the frosting first. Though he is only two-years-old, this was Brennan's third Night of 1,000 Cupcakes.

He was 10-days-old the first time his mother, brought him, she said. "It's pretty exciting. It's in his blood now."

Award winners this year included Erickson and Kennedy Richards for Most Creative; Karen Gibbs for Most Original; Jaffrey Cafe for Best Bug; Maggie DeRahm for Best Use of Candy; Linda Wallenstein for Best Animals (panda cupcakes); Cyndi Babin for Best Piping; TD Bank for Most Tropical; Eleanor and Willa Bradley for Best Movie Theme (Harry Potter); Allison and Kaitlin Houlihan for Best Hive Five; Monica Lemarie for Best Floral; Shannen Pimental for Best Retro; Cathy and Alyssa Maki for Best in Shoe; and Johanna Boyd for Best in Show (picnic basket).

The special guest cupcake judges were award-winning April Ferrell of Aprilla Cakes in Casco, Maine, Tracy Keating of Life is Sweet in Keene, and Neely Cohen of Central Kitchen in Cambridge, Mass., who also appears on the Food Network's Sweet Genius.meghanepierce@gmail.com

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