True to its name, Sweet Encounter Bakery offers team-building activities that are sugary good fun. For a holiday event, the Lansing-based bakery delivered handmade cookie-decorating kits to the employees of Dart Bank, which is headquartered in neighboring Mason. Employees, along with some lucky family members, gathered for a virtual class in adorning those sugar cookies with icing, sprinkles, and a variety of other decorative edibles. On-site, the bakery can accommodate 24 guests for classes and up to 100 guests for receptions that might include a dessert bar or a 1980s theme with “shake and bake” passed appetizers.
Add a little spice to the classes by dividing groups into teams to compete for best honors as they decorate a cake with chocolate fondant. “We did that with a local accounting firm, and they loved it,” says Sweet Encounter’s owner Nikki Thompson Frazier. Other classes feature a mystery box with ingredients that aren’t revealed until the class begins and the clock starts ticking down. Another option is a French-themed savory class where a few steps are missing from the recipe. Participants, for example, may have to figure out how much seasoning to add to the quiche. Or, in a meatball-making Italian feast, challenges might include distinguishing basil from tarragon or oregano.
Sweet Encounter also provides corporate and employee gifts. Thompson Frazier likes to get creative here, finding ways to incorporate a logo or company colors into cookies and cupcakes. Among her inspired creations was a holiday s’mores kit, with “We wish we had s’more employees like you” written in edible ink.
The Events Industry Council’s Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program, established in 1985, is recognized around the world as a badge of excellence in the events industry. JodieAnn Cady, an independent event project manager based in Mason, is among the professionals in the inaugural class of CMP Fellows, a program launched last year.
Located in Onekama and built in 1900 as the summer residence of lumber baron and Manistee Mayor Charles Canfield, Canfield House was purchased, completely renovated, and reopened as a year-round bed-and-breakfast in 2021. Featuring 200 feet of Portage Lake frontage, the property now offers a lakeside fire ring and new dock for kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The six-room house can be rented for small retreats and groups up to 125 accommodated for meetings and receptions.