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Cupcake Camp OC: the outcome

August 12th, 2010  No Comments

Cupcake Camp OC was now a few weekends ago and boy was it bananas! We committed to the event only 2 weeks before it was to take place…crazy I know. Not only that, but we turned away 3 different offers to have us participate in the 2010 Teen Choice Awards gifting suites. No biggie. Those opportunities are popping up all the time now. We felt it was our time to give back. I had no idea what to expect with this event. I guess I imagined the LA Cupcake challenge on a much smaller scale. Wake up call to me! It was huge! Well, the banquet hall was not, but the participation was. Over 90 contributors, 800 attendees and over 5,500 cupcakes! A total of $9,100.00 was raised for El Pozo! What a successful event! You can read about Hannah (the organizer) and how she decided to put this little shindig together here. I couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of such a successful and cause worthy event! 

DSC00083When we decided to commit we want to do something big…so we raffled off $1,000.00 in cupcakes and teamed up with Orange Novelty Cake Supplies to raffle off a gift basket of decorating goodies (valued at $200.00).We also baked over 550 cupcakes to pass out! Velma Trevino won the cupcakes and Michelle Gonzaga won the gift basket.  We were able to raise $385.00 for El Pozo. It was a family event for me…my hubby and girls were along for the ride (which was also crazy). All in all it was a stressful day, but lots of fun and for a great cause. Can’t wait until next year! 

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The proposal

August 11th, 2010  2 Comments

I don’t really know how to say this without sounding totally lame…but I LOVE the OC Fair! So, why am I even posting about the Fair? This summer aside from our usual family visit, I will be judging the Cupcake Classic! My first ever judging gig. Too make things even better….I will be judging with The Cupcake Activist!  Yipee! After finding out I would be judging, I started to think back to all the fond memories I had of the Fair. 

I have attended every year for as long as I can remember (the last 15 years at least). It has actually played a pretty big role in my life…no, really. Ahhh, where to start. Well, it was my first job. HA! I actually was one of those people who walked around with a broom and dust pan on a stick (not sure what those are really called)….I even cleaned bathrooms (yuck!). OK, I didn’t really clean them, more like restocked the TP and paper towels…still (double yuck). I worked there two summers and it was actually really fun! Now here’s the real memorable stuff. Your ready? My hubby actually proposed to me at the fair. Was that a chuckle I just heard? Before you judge, keep reading…it’s actually a pretty cool story. 

After dating for 4 years, Fernando (aka RAT) finally popped the big question..at the FAIR?!?!? So, we arrive to the fair after he had been in Boston for a month coaching a wrestling camp at Boston University. I think it was the 2nd day he was back. We get there and we’re walking around and almost immediately he asks if we can get one of those caricatures (those cartoon looking pictures) done. Immediately I was not into it. Why would I want some guy to draw me, accentuating my flaws (um can we say self conscious). We kept walking…and after about 5 minutes he asked again. Um, no thank you! We grab a bite to eat and…yes, he asked again. The day went on like this for a while and finally (really just to get him to stop asking) I give in. “Fine, let’s go…but they better not draw me bad!” He suddenly had a smirk on his face. Whatever, let’s just do it so we can get on with our day (me irritated).

We arrive at the booth and Fernando asks how I would like us to be drawn…you know, like in the jungle, or a fair scene, or riding a flamingo. Seeing as how I was already frustrated with the whole situation, I told him to choose. I go and sit down and wait for him to join me. He plops up on the ripped seat cushion next to me and we wait. We (and by we I mean Fernando) make small talk with the artist and I notice a crowd starting to surround us. Great, he drew me with big ears, buck teeth and a huge forehead…thanks babe! The crowd slowly continued to grow and I start to get nervous. I see people smiling and I just try not to make eye contact. How embarrassing. So, after what seemed like an eternity, the man finishes and Fernando nudges me over to get the picture, while he reaches in his pocket to get money to pay the man with. Great, I have to go get this thing and try to convince the artist that I love it, as to not hurt his feelings (by the way I am the worst liar EVER). So, I approach the man and he hands me the photo. I turn it over to see this:

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A little confused, I turn around to get clarification from Fernando and he is on one knee with a ring in hand. He asked me to marry him. I said yes. Remember that crowd that had formed around us (which had now doubled), well they all “got the picture” and began to clap. I was proposed to at the fair and had a picture to remember the moment for ever. (Nice job babe!) Since that day, in an effort to keep that memory alive, every year (for the last 7 years) we have made it tradition to get another picture done (by the same guy!). 

Here is the collection (with the exception of 1 which was lost in the numerous moves)

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The “honeymoon” (Alicia was conceived)

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The “ball park” (Alicia born)

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The “fishing trip” (Anabelle in belly)

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“Hawaii” (Anabelle born)…good story to this one! Fernando was in Hawaii coaching for Strike Force and missed the fair. I took his picture along and had him drawn in!

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“mermaids” (Angelica in belly)

 

Notice the blank spot above. This year would have been the 8th year in a row we had our photos done by the same artist…but, he was no where to be found. It was confirmed with 3 of the information booths that there were no caricature artists this year. Bummed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. 

So, that’s what the fair is all about to me…memories and fun…and LOTS of good food! Can’t wait to judge some yummy cupcakes!

Raffle #2 for Cupcake Camp OC

July 29th, 2010  No Comments

Let me start with this….Sometimes, good things have to fall apart before BETTER things can come together. Amen to that! 

I’ve been having issues with PayPal…First, they do not allow you to accept money in correlation to raffles. They consider it gambling. Second, in order to accept donations through PayPal, you must have all kinds of documentation. So, after having my PayPal account “on hold”, then activated again, then “on hold” again….well, let’s just say it’s been frustrating. I love PayPal…I know there are rules and regulations for reasons, and rightfully so. Man, does it make things complicated though. Especially when you are trying to raise money in such a short amount of time. Now I know for next time.

THEN, the shirts. I was so excited to finally get some shirts made and Steve from Twizted Teez offered to donate the screening! Sweet right…well, here’s the run down on that scenario. I was in the process of ordering some high quality shirts (you know, the really soft, thin ones) and when I sent over the shipping address, good old iphone spell check turned Pradera into Traders. So, no shirts. Well not just yet anyway. I know, I know, I should have checked, and I’m not making excuses (although I really am)…..3 kids, 4 orders this week, a new recipe in the works, a display and cupcakes for Cupcake Camp OC…well, something was bound to get lost in the shuffle I suppose. 

On to the good stuff. I stopped by my all time favorite shop , Orange Novelty Cake Supplies to pick up some goodies. For those of you unaware, Orange Novelty Cake Supplies is the premiere cake/cupcake supply shop in Orange County. I was talking to the amazing owner Anna about the event, my donation, and the hiccups along the way. I mentioned to her that I could maybe set out some of her cards if she’d like, to possibly help generate business. She decided to “one up” me and offered to donate a gift basket LOADED with cupcake goodies for our raffle.

 

 

WIN OVER $200.00 worth of decorating supplies!

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Including over 700 baking cups, 16 bottles of sprinkles, 3 jars of disco dust, 8 Americolor color gels, edible daisies, decorating bags and tips!

What does this mean for you? Well, when you purchase a $5.00 raffle ticket you are not only entered to win our GRAND PRIZE of $1,000.00 worth of cupcakes/cake, but we will be drawing a second winner who will win this fabulous gift basket! That’s right 2 chances to win!

Simply e-mail me: monica@twopartssugar.com or stop by the Two Parts Sugar booth and purchase a ticket the day of the event! 

Thank you Anna and Orange Novelty Cake Supplies for your generous donation!

WIN $1,000.00 in cupcakes!

July 20th, 2010  3 Comments

Leave it to me to wait until the very last minute to participate in something! As some of you may have heard, Cupcake Camp is coming to Orange County. Others of you may be thinking….Cupcake Camp? Yes, Cupcake Camp! The concept for Cupcake Camp originated in San Francisco and promotes a true spirit of community and sharing, and Cupcake Camps now happen around the world and come in a wide variety of flavors and sizes.  They’ve taken place in Paris, Montreal, Boston, and New York to name a few.  The most essential feature of a Cupcake Camp is that it brings people together to share their love of cupcakes!  It’s open to professionals, amateurs, and even first time bakers. Cupcake Camp O.C. has a goal of raising awareness and money for EL POZO. EL POZO (the well of life) is a non-profit organization that was started in Mexico in 2010, with it’s purpose to work towards ending human trafficking and slavery in Mexico. So, what does that mean for you….CUPCAKES, of course! Over here at Two Parts Sugar we have a huge place in our hearts for charitable events and while we can’t always do everything we would like, we do try to help out as much as we can. Not only that, but if we are going to take part in something, we want to do it big. Have I caught your attention yet? Keep reading….all the way to the end (lots of opportunity to help).

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So, here’s the run down: while the event is technically FREE, a suggested donation of $10.00 is asked upon entrance. Remember this is for charity and you’re lucky to get 3 cupcakes at some bakeries with $10.00. Already a win/win if you ask me. You’ll have access to cupcakes from lots of local bakeries as well as others participating who just love to bake! I have to tell you I was giddy with excitement when I found out Cupcake Camp would be happening in my backyard (not really in my backyard…..well, you know what I mean). I knew we had to participate and do it BIG!

We will be organizing a raffle where you could win BIG! I’m talking $1,000.00 BIG! 

The Two Parts Sugar GRAND PRIZE raffle will consist of the following:

100 decorated cupcakes

100 accent cupcakes (sprinkles/colored icing)

A 6″ decorate cake

A custom cupcake stand

-OR-

A cake valued at $1,000.00 

Not only will you be entered to win the GRAND PRIZE, but with every ticket purchase you will receive a coupon (coupon code if purchased on line) for 10% off you next order from Two Parts Sugar.

Tickets will be sold for $5.00 in the Two Parts Sugar booth the day of the event (please stop by and say hi even if you are not purchasing a ticket). You can also purchase tickets by contacting Monica via e-mail: monica@twopartssugar.com. We will then send you a confirmation and throw a ticket with your name on it in our raffle jar (to be drawn day of event). ALL proceeds go to EL POZO. Contest is open to all Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties. But wait, we didn’t stop there!

We will also be offering our signature “I bleed buttercream” T-Shirts (photo coming soon) at the event and on-line (until 7/31/10). Purchase a shirt for $20.00 and we’ll throw in a raffle ticket and a 10% off coupon! Again, ALL proceeds got to EL POZO.

TPSBLEEDAvailable in a variety of colors with white print.

Yes, there’s MORE….we will be debuting a NEW FLAVOR we have been wanting to do for over a year now(just waiting for the right occasion)! Not only that, but any cupcake we sell in that flavor from now until the end of the year, we will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to EL POZO!

So, let’s sum it up…$5.00 raffle ticket gets you a chance to win $1,000.00 worth of baked goods and a 10% off coupon towards a future purchase. Or buy a T-shirt for $20.00 and we’ll include the raffle ticket and coupon. You’ll be sampling a brand NEW FLAVOR and if you order some goodies in our new flavor, a percentage of proceeds goes to EL TOZO. You’ll meet lots of cupcake lovers and taste lots of yummy cupcakes. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, you will be helping great cause. 

Diabetic, don’t like sweets, on a diet, no worries, you can still participate. The organizers of Cupcake Camp OC are accepting donations! LOVE to bake? Don’t be shy, sign up and bring some cupcakes down to help raise awareness and money! 

Those of you not on a diet can enter the CUPCAKE EATING CONTEST!

Bottom line, a bunch of wonderful people are coming together to do something selfless and raise money for a good cause. Be a part of it and I’m living proof, karma will thank  you later.

*Grand Prize is valued at $1,000.00. Can be redeemed for one cake OR a 6″ cake, 100 decorated cupcakes, 100 accent cupcakes, and one decorated stand. Decorations subject to difficulty/time involved. Delivery/set up may or may not be included depending on circumstances. Open to Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and LA counties. Date of redemption dependant upon availability.

For questions feel free to contact us here or call Monica 714.651.9769.

My story

April 6th, 2010  2 Comments

This past Sunday a huge article ran in the O.C. Register about my business, my family, my life. It gives you an insight of what I’ve gone through to get Two Parts Sugar up and running. I am truly blessed to have such a supportive family, friends and following. I truly love you all. A special thank you to Teryl Zarnow for writing such an amazing article and really capturing the heart of Two Parts Sugar.

From Sweat to sweet

Only a certain kind of woman is willing to mix it up and go head to head against guys in a wrestling match. You might not expect it to be the same woman who now bakes cupcakes for a living – but it turns out they require the same ingredients.

The tenacity to score on the mat is not all that different from the tenacity you need to make a business into a winner.

So call this a story about what happens when sweat meets sweet. To me, though, it’s that familiar tale of a young mother juggling family and work. Mothers who learn how to fit their dreams around their children know how to grapple with life.

Monica Serratos, 28, wrestled at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa. As one of two women on the team, she wrestled mostly guys in the 103 or 112 -pound weight class.

She didn’t win a single match in her first year, but that only made her work harder. By senior year she was team captain.

Monica met her future husband, Fernando, on the wrestling team at Golden West College — and that’s where three babies come in.

Monica is primed to tell me about all this, plus cupcakes and the Academy Awards, but 3-month-old Angelica announces – loudly — she’s ready to eat. There’s no arguing with that.serratos-ceremony-academy

Monica fell into baking the way women fall in love: opportunity and attraction to something sweet. She was working weekends and nights at Macy’s, and wanted to start her own business. Then her sister took a culinary class and Monica sampled some recipes.

“I liked the cake on one and the icing on the other,” Monica recalls. “When we put them together, it was gold.”

First, she experimented with recipes – a little more egg here, a bit less oil there. A good cake is moist, not over-baked, with icing that isn’t overly sweet. One result is her signature raspberry red velvet cake.

“This is my passion … when people pop a bite into their mouth and their reaction is ‘Wow!’ you’ve created this little bit of dessert heaven.”

For a year she explored the idea of a baking business. She took some classes in cake decorating and discovered she was good at it – very good.

Monica began selling her creations to friends and their friends and suddenly realized: “I guess I’m in business.”

Two Parts Sugar (www.twopartssugar.com) launched in December of 2008. Listening to Monica explain how she hustles to build her business is exhausting.

Less than a year after launching, a very pregnant Monica was competing (and losing) in the first episode of the Food Network reality show, “Cupcake Wars.” Yes, she admits, she spent one crazy evening with power tools building a display stand for her cupcakes.

Twice she’s accepted the annual LA Cupcake Challenge, passing out thousands of samples so the public can eat and vote. The first year Two Parts Sugar won a second place and bragging rights for its (suddenly) “award-winning” cupcakes. In February, she won a third place for her chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes.

She’s already diversified from cupcakes into other sweets and aprons. With marketing help from her brother, Monica tweets and blogs and looks for every advantage.

When the Academy Awards came calling, Monica didn’t hesitate. She pulled several all-nighters to bake mini-cupcakes for tasting and “swag” bags for stars visiting the gifting suite.

She’s tasted other cupcakes. With no modesty she says:

“Some of the cupcakes out there made me realize that what I have here is fantastic.”

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An entrepreneur and mother, Monica knows all about juggling her time. Most mothers mentally barter with our kids, trading more favors than a backroom politico: If we accomplish one chore for me, later we will do one fun thing for you.

Monica trades a morning at the park for a run to buy ingredients or make a delivery. She packs Alicia, 3, Anabelle, 2, and the baby into the car and tells them it’s time to make a trip. She bakes; they bake with an Easy Bake Oven.

After the girls’ 8 p.m. bedtime, she heads to her Irvine-based kitchen to work. Her time is her own until 6 a.m. when the kids wake up.

“I tuck them into bed. They know Daddy is here and Mommy has to go to work.”

No problem – if you don’t require sleep.

And here’s where wrestling comes in. This is a grueling schedule. To meet it, Monica calls upon the same focus and drive she needed just to finish a practice.

“Some nights I’m baking and I’m dead tired and I tell myself: All right, it’s overtime. I need that extra bit you have to give.”

Endurance counts. She’s taken a self-taught, crash course in business: setting prices (too low), buying supplies (no longer at the grocery store), packaging and marketing.

So far, Two Parts Sugar is barely profitable. The deal with Fernando is that she needs to at least cover expenses and pay the family’s bill for health insurance.

Monica is selling cupcakes, but she’s buying herself time.

Right now, her business is the freedom to stay home days and weekends with her girls. But she has ambitions: maybe her own storefront bakery one day, maybe a little saved for the girls’ education. She would like them to finish college.

“I am setting an example. My girls can see it’s important to be independent and be able to support themselves and not have to rely on anybody else.”

She wants to build a successful business. She wants to be a successful mother. She wants more hours in the day.

All mothers wrestle with that.

Cupcakes for Haiti

February 23rd, 2010  No Comments

A little while back we were contacted by a woman who requested some cupcakes for a company fundraiser. Everyone was contributing something to raffle to help raise money for The Haiti Earthquake Relief. She thought our cupcakes would be a perfect fit. We love to participate in things like this and immediately jumped on the opportunity. We donated 3 dz cupcakes in an effort to help raise some money for this organization. I later heard back from her and she said they were a hit. They were able to raise $1,200.00!

Vision Solutions charity cupcakes

We are thrilled to have been a part of this fundraiser…it’s kinda why we do what we do, after all they are just cupcakes. Don’t get me wrong, they are definitely not JUST cupcakes….I mean they are my passion, my livelihood, my life. But when you look at the big picture, there are so many other things that are more important. We can’t wait until we are able to help in bigger and better ways. Until then, we will continue to help out the community and other non-profit organizations as much as we can. Who knows, maybe one day we will be able to start our own charitable non-profit organization!

Supporting our local troops…Girl Scouts that is

January 29th, 2010  No Comments

I just received a text from a family friend reminding me that one of my favorite times of the year was here yet again…Girl Scout COOKIES for sale! I immediately thought cupcakes. Then I thought I want to help her daughter with cookie sales. I wanted to put together a Girl Scout cookie cupcake box to offer to our customers. I initially thought of translating the cookie into a cupcake, such as taking our already delicious chocolate cupcake and infusing mint flavor into it…thin mint!  Well, then I realized that wasn’t helping the Girl Scouts any….DUH! I had to actually use the cookies in the cupcakes (or I’d be left with lots of boxes of cookies, and I am trying to loose that baby weight)! So, that being said we will be offering a box of one dozen assorted flavors of cupcakes made with yummy Girl Scout cookies $30.00 per dz (assorted flavors) February 21-27. Be sure to pre-order so that we are sure to purchase enough cookies!

thin mint…chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache frosting topped with crushed thin mints samoas…coconut cupcake topped with chocolate frosting toasted coconut and samoa pieces tagalongs…chocolate cupcake topped with peanut butter icing and tagalong pieces lemonades…lemon cupcake topped with lemon cream frosting and lemonade pieces

 

Meet Jade! She is 6 years old  and her goal is to sell  100 boxes, she has sold 38 boxes so far…and she needs to turn in her orders by Friday February 5th! So, place your cupcake order and help her meet that goal! You can also order a good ‘ol box of cookies from her for $4.00 per box by contacting her mom Aracely.

Two Parts Sugar featured on Zen Cupcake!

June 20th, 2009  No Comments

In case you missed it, we recently had a custom order for some bridal shower cupcakes. We incorporated the soon to be groom’s love of technology and the soon to be bride’s fun loving personality and put them together to create our iphone cupcakes. We used the couples engagement photos to create custom cupcake wrappers and then topped the cupcakes with iphones, hearts, and laptops with lingerie slung over them! They turned out great and the couple loved them! Zen Cupcake, a blog devoted to all things cupcakes got a glimpse of our creations and posted them on their blog! Thanks Zen Cupcake for the post! You can read more about it here.

laptop, iphone, hearts bridal shower cupcakes lined with custom cupcake wrappers with engagement photo collage

If you have any questions, comments or would like to place an order you can reach us here.

Cupcake Karma!

May 26th, 2009  No Comments

“Sprinkling” the community with LOVE!

As many of you following our Blog may already know, one thing we love just as much as cupcakes is our community. We love to help out where we can in giving back to help others in need. My husband has a wonderful wrestling program where he coaches wrestlers and trains them to become elite wrestlers at the high school level. He coaches kids from many different schools, including Trabuco Hills and Rancho Santa Margarita High Schools. A few of the parents who are involved with the schools contacted us about some fundraising events. We were happy to lend a hand. We were able to donate cupcakes and gift certificates to the Trabuco Hills High School Wrestling Team for fundraising events. Also, we participated in the Rancho Santa Margarita Senior Fashion Show with a donation of cupcakes and gift certificate.

one part Faith, two parts sugar 

While these were smaller fundraisers that were for organizations we were familiar with, we were later informed about another cause that we could help with…..The Arthritis Walk. We learned about a girl named Faith who suffered from Juvenile Arthritis. She quickly became an inspiration to us all. We attended The Arthritis Walk 1,000 cupcakes in hand and enjoyed the day with many other volunteers and Arthritis survivors. We believe in helping others when we can. We all feel truly blessed to be able to do something we LOVE and will continue to share it with as many people as we can. Zen Cupcake calls it Cupcake Karma and we couldn’t believe in anything less. 

Arthritis Walk 2009!

May 18th, 2009  1 Comment

If you weren’t there….YOU MISSED OUT!

Yesterday, we attended the 2009 Arthritis Walk and it was AMAZING! A little while back I found out about a little girl named Faith who was 9 years old and suffered from Juvenille Arthritis. Her story was so inspirational I decided we had to get involved. We started team “one part Faith, two parts sugar” and we committed to donating cupcakes to the Arthritis kick off dinner as well as the Walk itself. Well, the walk has come and gone and we could be happier with the outcome.

the start of the walk

I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing this event was. I was flying solo on this event (one sister had to work, the other is pregnant and on bed rest), but knew I could handle it. I arrived at the Irvine Great Park at about 6:00 am, 1,000 cupcakes in hand! As I walked through the event grounds I was just amazed. There were all kinds of booths and fun activities being set up. I had no idea how big this event was. I made my way to my booth and began to set up. I was done early (my display was nothing elaborate), so I went to see where I could help. I found Isella and she gave me the job of posting pictures onto this GIANT folding picture board. First, we had to stand this thing up….wish someone could have taken pictures of us doing so, cause it was a riot. Picture 2 little women lifting a giant folding contraption that was a good 8′ x8′ and weighed at least ….well I don’t know how much it weighed, but it was HEAVY!  I asked her who the pictures were of and she told me they were all people who suffer from arthritis. After she told me that, as I pinned each picture on to the board (especially the ones of the children) my heart sank a little more. I pulled myself together and completed my task. I was really starting to feel pretty good about joining this great cause. 

those surviving with Arthritis

After posting hundreds of pictures, I headed off to my booth to display the cupcakes we had made for the day. Before I knew it, people were piling in through the gates! There were SO MANY teams and smiling faces. 

Arthritis walk boothour army of cupcakes

 

Along with the actual walk (3 mile and also a 1 mile for those who suffered from Arthritis and couldn’t do the full 3) then were tons of festivities. The morning started off with made to order omelets, doughnuts, bagels, fresh fruit, breakfast bars, coffee, juice, and water…..all complimentary! There was a stage for daily announcements and a live band, who played music all day long!  

the band

There was a kids zone with bouncers, hockey, crafts, tattoos (temporary of course), face painting, clowns, balloon animals, bubbles, raffles, cotton candy, popcorn, candy, ice cream, and a fire truck…again, all complimentary! 

kids zone bouncerseven clowns love cupcakes

 

Walmart and Coca-Cola were sponsors for the event….so, there were hot dogs, chips, and soda for lunch! There were also tables with all kinds of goodies! Snacks, candy, popsicles,  banners to sign, crafts, raffles, and CUPCAKES….all FREE!

 

candy standArthritis banner signed

 

There really was something for  EVERYONE…

 

Arthritis Walkthis walk was for everyone

 

…it was a great event for family, friends and lots of FUN! Here are a few of the attendies enjoying some of our cupcakes:

 

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It was so great to see such a huge turnout and everyone coming together for such a good cause. We will definitely be participating again next year and will have a huge team joining us!