This weekend my neighbor introduced me and my kids to a great event in Portland. Every year about this time Safeway hosts a fundraiser for Dornbecher's Children's Hospital. They open up a portion of their facilities off Hwy 224 in Clackamas and provide all of the materials for a cookie bake. This cookie bake is so popular that some people have been attending for 20 years. They don't advertise this event because they are already at capacity. Every penny goes to Dornbecher's which is a very worthy cause.
So here's how it works:
You RSVP for a specific time slot. Your reservation costs $35 and you get 10 pounds of cookie dough and 1 hour and 45 minutes at a table to roll out and cut your cookies. Safeway provides cookie trays and after you fill the tray you can label it and they will bake the cookies. There is plenty of frosting provided and you can then move to a decorating table where you have an unlimited amount of time to decorate your cookies.
There were tons of people there but it was all very organized and efficient. Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance where you could have your picture taken with them for $1. There was also a cookie contest for the best decorated cookies. There were many people there who shared a lot of insight with me while we were there but our neighbor's preparation definitely helped make the experience wonderful for our first time there.
I want to share some tips for you in case you go for the first time:
1. There are no chairs so you could bring a stroller or stepping stools for smaller children.
2. Bring your own cookie cutters, rolling pins and anything you want to use to decorate the cookies with. Some people brought stuff to bake into the cookies, others brought stuff to decorate the cookies with afterwards.
3. We were there for 4 hours and many people brought food and/or drinks to help tide them over.
4. You can purchase containers with lids for $2 which worked really well for carrying baked cookies.
5. Expect to get dirty! We had flour everywhere (the flour fight didn't help our cause but it was definitely worth the battle!). Aprons or changes of clothes might be worth bringing. They do sell aprons for the event so you can have you official cookie bake apron with the year printed on it as a souvenir.