Baraboo’s Circus World Museum had its most successful single-day fundraiser of all time Sunday, raising more than $200,000 at its annual taste testing festival.
Steve Freese, the museum’s executive director, said the record outcome was a surprise considering today’s economy.
"I knew that we were going to pass our goal on Sunday when we had $154,000 in table sales," Freese said. "But I thought we wouldn’t do so well with our silent and live auctions. Nope, we set records there, too."
The money raised helps pay for Circus World’s general operations and summer performances.
Thirty-three chefs, vintners and brewmasters served a record 610 Circus World supporters. The event also featured live music, auctions, chef awards and shows from Circus World performing artists.
Baraboo National Bank Chairman and CEO Merlin Zitzner, the event’s co-chair, said area businesses and individuals "really stepped up this year with both monetary and silent auction donations" to make the event successful.
First place winners received the "Silver Tray" award. Winners for the 2011 gala were:
• Appetizer: Chef Bodhi Engler, Granite City Food and Brewery
• Entrée: Executive chef Greg Smart, Fresh Madison Market
• Dessert: Chef John Jerabek, Fresco
• Beer: A tie between brewmaster Kirby Nelson, Capital Brewery, and Dave Fritz, president of Potosi Brewing Company
• Wine: Cindy Ballweg, Wollersheim Winery
• Best Table Presentation: Potosi Brewing Company