‘Party with a purpose’ at Northern Stars event

Do home plate tickets to the 2014 Major League Baseball All Star Game at Target Field top your wish list?

Have you always wanted to “play” with full-size construction equipment in a giant sandbox?

Do you support students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District?

Yes? Then mark Saturday, Oct. 5 on your calendar for the 19th annual Northern Stars Celebration at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park.

Everyone is invited to District 11’s “party with a purpose,” said Tess DeGeest, executive director of the Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation, which sponsors the event.

The evening’s price tag is $75 per person and includes dinner, entertainment by Coon Rapids High School students and the opportunity to bid on an array of silent and live auction packages. The party starts at 5:30 p.m.

The Northern Stars Celebration aims to fund school programs that tax dollars don’t fully cover. This year’s focus is on talent development programs, activities that hook students on learning, anything from orchestra to math, the STEM Fair to football, according to DeGeest.

“We have a wonderfully generous community here,” DeGeest said. “People believe in our education system; they support public education. This is one of the ways for them to demonstrate that.”

Throughout the evening, attendees can bid on a range of packages, from a spa day in Anoka to a collection of live theater tickets.

One of the more unique auction items this year is a trip to Extreme Sandbox in Hastings, “the first and only recreational heavy equipment adventure in the Midwest,” according to the business’ website.

Extreme Sandbox allows visitors to tackle obstacle courses with giant construction machinery “in a safe and controlled environment,” the site states.

Valued at more than $2,500, the Field of Dreams package includes two home plate tickets to the 2014 All Star Game at Target Field in 2014, as well as tickets to the All Star Fan Fest at the Minneapolis Convention Center, commemorative programs and more.

“It truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” DeGeest said of the Field of Dreams bundle.

A $5 raffle for $500, $250 and $100 in prizes and a “giving moment,” a solicitation for direct donations after the live auction, offer additional opportunities to give back during the event.

The foundation hopes to raise $35,000 for students at this year’s event. The Northern Stars Celebration is the group’s largest fundraiser each year.

The Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization distinct from the district. Its mission is “to seek resources to support and enrich educational opportunities for students in partnership with the community,” according to the foundation’s website.

To register for the Northern Stars Celebration, visit www.anoka.k12.mn.us/AHEF. For more information or to donate items for the auction, call the Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation office at 763-506-1107.

Olivia Koester is at [email protected]