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A night of pies

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Teachers received pies in the face based on nominations from the student body. Host Michelle Borden pied Athletic Director John Hannahs. PHOTO BY JENNIE BIBBENS

Big Sky PTO hosts 41st Annual Pie Auction

By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – It was a night full of jokes, sound effects, a surprise Disney character, and most importantly, pies. The rambunctious masters of ceremony for the evening, Joe and Michelle Borden, were dressed as pumpkin and cherry pies while they virtually hosted the 41st annual Pie Auction, benefitting the Big Sky Parent Teacher Association.

This year looked a little different from years past, featuring a hybrid format as opposed to the in-person event that traditionally takes place. After cancelling the live auction last year due to concerns over COVID-19, the pie auction raised over $111,000 this year through the online auction, raffle ticket sales and generosity of event sponsors.

Ashley Dodd made a completely edible Fairy Wonderland which closed at $200. PHOTO COURTESY OF MITCH IMMENSCHUH 

“Thanks to new parental involvement we brought new energy to the event and really focused on the fundraiser being about the kids,” said Mitch Immenschuh, president of the PTO.  “Teachers offered teacher experiences that were really popular and the live stream was geared to be fun for all ages.”

To pull it off this year, the Parent Teacher Organization hosted the virtual auction on May 1 via live stream from the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, which the community could tune in to from smaller private gatherings.

The Pie Auction started in Big Sky in the early ‘80s and the first one took place at Hunter’s Inn according to Immenschuh who was interviewed on stage during the event. “What better way to make money and bring people together,” she said when describing the original inspiration for the event.

This fresh cherry cheesecake was donated by Hammond Property Management and was sold for $70. PHOTO COURTESY OF MITCH IMMENSCHUH

Since that early iteration, the Pie Auction has expanded beyond just auctioning pies and all the proceeds benefit the PTO and help to support kindergarten through 12th grade students at Ophir School and Lone Peak High School. 

Funds raised by the Pie Auction will help to send students on trips like Expedition Yellowstone and Washington D.C. as well as support downhill and cross-country ski days, field trips and even science experiments in the classroom.

Bidding this year opened on Thursday April 29 at noon and all of the items closed for bidding by 9:30 p.m. on May 1. Pies were all picked up or delivered on the evening of May 1 and the rest of the items are available to pick up at the ERA Landmark Real Estate office May 3 to the 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

New this year were “Teacher experiences” which were popular with families and they raised $6,355.

These two 5-layer cakes generated some school spirit along with $245. PHOTO COURTESY OF
MITCH IMMENSCHUH 

Tesha Distad, vice president of the PTO, said that she is happy with how the event went and the PTO exceeded their $100,000 goal this year after raising only $40,000 last year. She organized the live stream event along with help from Jennie Bibbens and Amy Gitchell. 

“We are very happy,” Distad said of the event. “We wanted it to be fun and light yet raise money for the school and then also be informative because there are so many new families.”

Immenschuh also praised the event this year and offered many thanks to everyone who helped to make it happen. She listed many community members including John Zirkle executive director of WMPAC,  Andrew Blessing [of] Big Sky School District, students Charlie Distad and Abby Meredith who worked on the production, Joe and Michelle Borden, Dustin Shipman, Jeremy Harder, Brittany Shirley, Erika Frounfelker, John Hannahs, Ashley Dodd, PTO Board members Tesha Distad, Amy Gitchell, Jennie Bibbins, Pie Auction Committee members Sheena Kidd, Liz Magrans, Kate Scott, Veronica Bryant, Amanda Hamstra, and all the donors and bidders.

“It was amazing to have a successful event this year and it really was thanks to the generosity of Big Sky businesses and local support,” wrote Immenschuh in an email to EBS. “The livestream from the WMPAC showcases the incredible resources and talent we are so fortunate to have in this community.” 

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