Get ready to tantalize your taste buds when the Lead-Deadwood Arts Center hosts the 25th Annual Cheesecake Sampler and Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres, Friday, Nov. 3 in Deadwood.

The event features some of the most delicious hors d'oeuvres and desserts in the Black Hills while raising money for arts programs in the area. Tasters can sample all the cheesecake and hors d'oeuvres they can handle for the admission price.

Karen Everett, executive director, said the goal is to create an entire evening out with an emphasis on dessert. “You can have dinner and dessert and make it a nice evening out. And of course who doesn’t like cheesecake?” she said.

The idea for the event came in 1992 when the arts council decided to do more culinary arts events. They introduced Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres for the 20th anniversary to give the event a boost. Some of the hors d'oeuvres featured over the years are ahi tuna, caviar, smoked salmon and shrimp cocktail.

The cheesecake has always been the centerpiece of the event, bringing in some delectable entries.

“We have had all kinds of different flavors, from New York style to burnt sugar style with edible sugar glass shards, chocolate raspberry, brownie, even bacon cheesecake,” Everett said.

The bacon cheesecake didn’t win over as many fans as she had hoped. “We’ve never really had a worst entry, but that one wasn’t very popular. Some people just don’t like bacon in their cheesecake,” she said.

Participants can also enter dishes for a chance to win prizes and bragging rights. All entries are anonymous and judged in two categories; People's Choice and Judge's Choice, which are based on taste and presentation. The best overall entry is awarded the Linda Maxwell Cheesecake Diva Award and a $100 prize.

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The award is named after Linda Maxwell, who earned the nickname “The Cheesecake Diva.” She was a member of the Saloon #10 family and used to enter cheesecakes on behalf of the Deadwood Social Club. “She would win so many years, she was actually embarrassed because she won it so many times,” Everett said.

Linda passed away about three years ago, prompting her family to establish the award in honor of her cheesecake skills.

The event kicks off at 6 p.m. and takes place at the Martin Mason Hotel Ballroom in Deadwood. Tickets are $20 per person and include one drink ticket. For more information, call 605-584-1461 or email

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