Skip to Content

The Big Grape

The Big Grape

Friday, April 8th at 7 p.m.
Prairie Center at Avera McKennan

Fine wine, craft beer, gourmet food, live music and an exclusive silent auction are waiting for you at The 2016 Big Grape Featuring The Big Hop Craft Beer Exhibit! Enjoy a night out on the town and benefit the lives of Avera's tiniest patients and their families at Avera Children's Hospital. Since its inception, The Big Grape continues to further the mission of Avera McKennan while providing a unique experience for the community. Every year, we are excited to expand our selection of exclusive silent auction packages, fine food and highly rated wines poured by expert sommeliers.

New This Year! The Big Grape Premier Wine Tasting Event is introducing an expanded selection of craft beer samples. Distinguished as The Big Hop Craft Beer Exhibit, this fine array of the best brews will entice beer connoisseurs and serve as a welcomed addition to the event!

The Big Grape Video

Over the Top!

Thank you to Midcontinent Communications for putting together this "Over the Top" commercial. There's still time to join our generous sponsors and be part of of this amazing event that supports Avera Children's Hospital.

Learn More


Text to Bid

Mobile bidding allows you to bid on auction items using your mobile phone, desktop computer, laptop or tablet to access our mobile bidding site. Simply register your name, phone number, and email and let the bidding begin! Once you are registered you will receive two text messages confirming your registration. Throughout the evening, you will receive text alerts when you are the highest bidder, if you have been outbid, etc.


Mobile Bidding

To Place a Bid with your mobile phone

To place a bid on any auction item, simply reply to any Qtego text message with the three digit item number and the whole dollar amount that you want to bid.

Example: To bid $75 on item number 123, reply to any Qtego text with 123 75 and SEND. You’ll receive a text message confirming your bid. You’ll also receive a text if someone outbids you.

To Check the Current Bid on an Item

To check the current bid on any auction package or item, you may reply to any Qtego text message with the three digit item number of that item.

Example: To check the current bid on item number 123, reply to any Qtego text with 123 and SEND.

To Set Up Automated Bidding (set a maximum bid)

Enter the item number, your maximum bid amount, and the letter M to indicate the maximum you are willing to bid. The system will automatically bid for you until you win or your max is met. Example: To enter a maximum bid of $500 for item number 123, you would reply to any QTEGO text with 123 500M and SEND.

To Check the Bidding Status on ALL your Items

To check the bidding status on any of the items you are currently bidding on, simply reply to any Qtego text with the word STATUS and press SEND.

You’ll receive a text listing all the items on which you are currently the high bidder.

Winning Bidders

At the conclusion of the auction, you will receive a text message for each package or item that you have won. Each message will indicate the item number, item or package name and you winning bid amount.

To Place a Bid with your desktop computer, laptop or tablet

  1. To place a bid on an item or package, you must register your phone number on the mobile bidding site which is found under the Auction Items tab on website.
  2. Watch for two text messages from Qtego confirming your registration.
  3. Look for the link in the confirmation text message. The last four characters are your personal PIN. Enter your PIN when you sign in to the mobile bidding site using the link found on website.
  4. Find the item that you would like to bid on. Select the photo or description of that item.
  5. You will then be taken to a screen that lists the item number, item name, photos and a description of the item. You will also see an area where you can place your bid. Some items have bidding increments. Enter the amount that you would like to bid in the text box and press submit bid.

You can also set a maximum bid. This is the highest amount that you are willing to pay for that particular item. Qtego will bid for you in the increments listed with the item until you either win the item or you are outbid. You will be notified via text message if you are outbid.

Frequently Asked Questions About Text to Bid

Q: Do I have to be registered to bid on the silent auction items?

A: Yes, the mobile bidding site will be live approximately 2 weeks prior to the event date. Through, you will be able to access a link prompting you to type your name, mobile number, and email address. Simply enter that information and you will be registered to start your bidding. We highly encourage everyone to pre-register on prior to coming to the event. This will ensure a quick and easy check in upon your arrival at The Big Grape.

Q: When can I start bidding on the silent auction items?
A: The mobile bidding site will be live approximately 2 weeks prior to the event date.

Q: Do I have to be at the event to bid the on silent auction items?

A: No! Pre-register your phone number and information on, and you will be ready to bid.

Q: How do I bid for items on the silent auction?

A: To place a bid on an item or package, you must register your phone number on the mobile bidding site either at the event, or prior to the event through website. Please refer to the above instruction section for information on how to bid.

Q: What if I don’t have a smartphone?

A: There are multiple ways to bid on silent auction items. Use your mobile phone, desktop computer, laptop or tablet to access our mobile bidding site. You do not need a smartphone to participate. The only requirement to bid is that your phone has texting capabilities.

Q: How will I know if I won any items?
A: At the conclusion of the auction, you will receive text messages for each item that you hold the winning bid on.

Q: Am I able to register to bid at the event?

A: Yes. The Big Grape will have staff available throughout the evening to help you register for the auction and assist with other questions and issues as needed.


The Culinary Team at Avera McKennan

Pork belly glazed with ginger BBQ

Smoked salmon platter

Lobster mac and cheese

Pheasant arancini

Cheese and balsamic platter

Union square bar spicy nuts

No bake chocolate stout cheesecake parfait

The Culinary Team at Avera Behavioral Health Center

Hoppin’ Street Taco’s with choice of:

  • Citrus lime red snapper
  • Orange ginger roasted duck topped with Daikon Jicama slaw
  • Que so fresco on a fresh tortilla or steamed bun
  • Mole braised pork ribs accompanied with a corn bread muffin
  • Mini tart-lets topped with seasonal fresh fruit
The Quarry at the Prairie Center Culinary Team

Fresh fruit display with chocolate dipped strawberries

Vegetable crudites

Mini beer brat Reuben with sour kraut

Beer cheese fondue: pretzel bites with plain and cheese curd

Carved classic baron of beef and blue cheese beef tenderloin roulade with demi glace - red onion

Mini soft pretzels

Oven roasted Pizzas:

  • Pepperoni
  • Buffalo chicken
  • Pesto veggie

Layered chocolate mousse cake with caramelized banana glaze finish

Key lime pie

Wine & Brew


Please check back...


Please check back...

Little Grapes

It Takes a Lot of "Little Grapes" to Make the Big Grape!

Known for their courageous spirit, positive attitude and strong will to persevere, these young children are true examples of how your gifts from The Big Grape affect lives. Called "Little Grapes," children are selected each year to share their personal stories of determination. Because of you, these children, and countless others at Avera Children's Hospital, have directly benefited from your gifts and are living testaments of what you can do for the community by supporting The Big Grape. Read below and get to know them better!

Anthony Britt

Playful and Grateful


The first years of young Anthony’s life were anything but easy. In November of 2014, Anthony’s parents thought their young son had come down with a classic case of the flu. After three long weeks of battling the sickness, he was admitted to Avera Children’s Hospital and diagnosed as having a lack of nutrition. His levels had reached deadly lows and steps were taken to provide the much-needed nutrients his body so desperately needed. But to no avail, little Anthony continued on the downward spiral and undergo numerous procedures that required anesthesia. The next step was surgery where the talented team at Avera Children’s Hospital found scar tissue and lesions on his intestine that needed to be removed. A few short months later, Anthony was back for another surgery where they removed 6-8 inches of his small intestine Anthony still remains on a feed tube today with hopes he will eventually grow out of it.

Despite his set-backs and obstacles, Anthony is a playful, happy little boy who loves school, trains, trucks and legos. His parents, Richard and Amy, are confident in his treatment plan and forever grateful for the life-saving care he received throughout his journey - both spiritually and medically. From working with the Child Life Specialists to ease Anthony’s fears to the comforts of family-friendly patient rooms, they are thankful to those who have made gifts to support events like The Big Grape, which provided funding to make these conveniences possible.

"It’s not easy having to experience the thought of losing a child," says Richard and Amy Britt. "At least we knew we were in the best place possible."

Charlie Prestholdt

A Bundle of Miracles


It was truly a happy day when Heidi and Dane Prestholdt found out they were expecting. But the happiness soon turned to worry when the young mother entered her third trimester. She experienced sudden back pain that required a hospital visit. It was here that the care team diagnosed her with a rare infection in the placenta that was causing early labor. Heidi underwent an emergency c-section and soon welcomed little Charlie into their family. Weighing only three pounds, he was admitted to the Avera NICU where he remained for a total of eight weeks.

During this time, the Prestholdts worked closely with their care team to stay informed of their son’s condition. Being away from home, they used the on-campus lodging at the Walsh Family Village so they could remain near their son. Even though it was extremely difficult to leave Charlie, they knew he was in good hands. In fact, nurses often took photographs, read books and even rocked little Charlie to calm him while Heidi and Dane were away.

Today, Charlie is a happy and healthy little boy and the Prestholdts remain grateful to all the staff at Avera for making them feel special and calm during this critical time. Thanks to gifts from generous supporters, facilities such as the Walsh Family Village and programs for NICU parents that are available to provide much-needed assistance for families who face medical emergencies.

"It’s the hardest thing to leave the hospital without your newborn baby," says Heidi. "Thanks to the caring staff, I was reassured and always felt safe. They truly made us feel special."

Kyzleigh Metzger

From Worry to Hope


Kyzleigh Metzger’s life was brand new when she experienced a serious threat to her young life. At just five weeks old, she had a slight temperature. Her parents, Bridgette Muller and Sam Metzger, noticed that she was having trouble moving, and would scream when she was lifted or moved. From their home in Avon, S.D., they took Kyzleigh to their clinic in Yankton, and then rushed her to Avera Sacred Heart Hospital where staff provided initial treatment before she was flown to Avera Children’s in Sioux Falls. Tests revealed that she had spinal bacterial meningitis that led to seizures and a blood clot in her brain, causing a stroke. She was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis for sub-specialty care, and then returned to Avera for continued monitoring and treatment. A scan revealed a hematoma – or a mass of clotted blood – in the frontal lobe in her brain. It has shrunk over time, and she continues with physical therapy. The family received Avera McKennan Foundation support, for example, gas cards for travel home when needed, as they also had an 11-year-old and 5-year-old.

"This was one of the most devastating things to happen to us," Sam said. "The physicians and nurses were very supportive and answered all our questions as we wondered what her future would be. We live every day for what it is, hour by hour and minute by minute, and have the best hopes for the future." Bridgette added, "Our care was beyond excellent. All the physicians, nurses, patient care techs, social workers and child life specialists were absolutely amazing. They were more than supportive; they were like family, and we brag them up each time we speak of her story. We consider Avera Children’s our ‘home away from home,’ even to this day."

Anthony and Rocco Swanson

Love Times Two

Anthony & Rocco Swanson

Siblings Kalli and Rocco Swanson share more than a last name. Both born prematurely with similar health issues, their early starts in life virtually mirrored one another. It began in 2010 when Heidi and Chad first learned they were expecting. With a family history of premature births, Heidi was aware the risks but remained optimistic. But at 26 weeks, they learned their baby girl was growth restricted and Heidi suffered from preeclampsia. After an emergency c-section, baby Kalli was brought into the world weighing one pound, twelve ounces. She would go on to spend the next 104 days in the Avera NICU as caregivers worked round the clock to strengthen her lungs and ward off infections. Despite the long stay, Kalli returned home with only an oxygen tank and apnea monitor and is now living a full life with no major set-backs.

As Kalli grew into a beautiful little girl, Heidi and Chad discovered they were pregnant again. They were very excited as they desperately longed for another baby and worked closely with their care team due to their high risk status. Despite their efforts, Heidi received a similiar diagnosis but had fortunately sustained the pregnancy to 30 weeks before undergoing a similar emergency c-section due to HELLP Syndrome. Thankfully, Rocco was introduced at a plumper three pounds, 1 ounce and was further developed than his sister. After a 6 week stay in the Avera NICU, the little rock star (as they call him), was discharged and thrived in his home setting. Today, Rocco and his sister are both true testaments of the world-class care offered at the Avera NICU and their families couldn’t be happier with their experiences despite the critical situations. Thanks to gifts from events like The Big Grape and community supporters, life-saving NICU equipment continues to care for the community’s tiniest patients with the highest level of care.

"We’re so lucky to have been at Avera," says Heidi. "Not only did they provide the best medical care, the team of caregivers offered a wealth of knowledge and personalized care for both of my miracles. I truly felt they cared about our family and did a great job providing comfort and support when needed."

Maxton Krikke

Common Cold Turns Scary


Like many toddlers, Maxton Krikke had his share of bugs and viruses, including a stay at Avera Children’s Hospital for RSV and pneumonia when he was nearly a year old in January 2014. So later that year in December, the Krikkes, of Sanborn, Iowa, were familiar faces when they returned to Avera Children’s again with Maxton. A common cold had developed into a fever and seizures, and so they made the 75-mile trip to Sioux Falls. His parents, Daryl and Jodi, feared the worst – perhaps a tumor or neurological condition. At Avera Children’s, Maxton underwent a series of tests, yet continued to have seizures.

When tests showed no firm conclusion as to the cause of the seizures, Maxton was discharged. Minutes after they left the hospital, while in his family’s van, he had a seizure that would not stop. He was rushed back to the hospital by ambulance. Maxton was placed on a ventilator as anti-seizure medications were administered and tests were run. He then developed pneumonia as a result of aspirating.

After five days on the ventilator and a total 17 days in the pediatric ICU, Max recovered and was cleared to go home just in time for Christmas. Max continues to do well, and now has a new little sister to enjoy.

The Krikkes saw first-hand how the Big Grape benefits little patients, for example, by providing Maxton activities and staff interaction to break up the mundane days in a hospital. Although their stay at Avera Children’s was much longer than anticipated, the Krikkes knew there was no place they’d rather be.

"This was a terrifying time in our lives," Jodi said. "Yet at Avera, we felt like they cared for Maxton like he was their own. The nurses were amazing. The doctors were amazing. Their teamwork was paramount. We were being prayed for not only at home, but by the staff at Avera. The medical care at Avera is personal and warm – you’re like family. I still keep in contact with a few of the nurses and we make a special point to stop by if we’re in the area. Avera was truly a blessing. My husband and I cannot thank everyone enough."


Big Grape 2016 Sponsors

The Big Grape offers opportunities for everyone to help the patients and families at the Avera Children’s Hospital. From cash to in-kind sponsorships, The Big Grape provides a variety of levels to match your company or organization’s marketing goals and budget.

Title Sponsors

Bordeaux Sponsors

Evans Photography Logo

Media Sponsors

Media Sponsors for The Big Grape Event

Tuscany Sponsors

Napa Valley Sponsors

  • BMO Harris Bank N.A.
  • DJ Jer Events and Lighting Design
  • Ideal Wedding & Events
  • Sioux Falls Construction

Sonoma Sponsors

  • Cutler and Donahoe, LLP
  • Eide Bailly, LLP
  • First Bank & Trust
  • Great Western Bank
  • Novak Sanitary Service
  • Sisson Printing
  • The Venrick Goeman Group at Morgan Stanley
  • Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith, P.C.
  • Sisson Printing

Learn More!

Become a sponsor today! Click here to learn more or email Missy Vandekieft.

Avera McKennan Foundation
1325 S. Cliff Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
Attn: Missy Vande Kieft
Fax: 605-322-8905


The Big Grape continues the tradition of improving the lives of children and families through partnerships with friends and sponsors who share in our vision of outstanding health ministry. Thanks to your generous support, 100% of the proceeds raised continue to be used to enhance pediatric care at Avera Children’s Hospital.

What Your Gifts Support:

  • Pediatric Social Workers to offer convenient coordination during your stay
  • Child Life Specialists help make a child’s hospital stay less intimidating through play and education
  • Children's Champion recognition program supports positive reinforcement and necessary encouragement to aid in the healing and recovery process
  • Advanced technology to provide world-class care

Creating a family-friendly facility for our patients and families is a priority. Funds from The Big Grape are also used to provide a colorful, kid-friendly and family-centered environment. There's a play room with lots of toys and games, and each child gets to visit our "Treasure Chest" to take home a special prize after their stay.

Children also have access to free family-friendly movies on demand and games. We have special programs like developmental play and pet therapy to comfort and engage children during their stay.

A Toast to You!

Thank you to all those who have supported The Big Grape. Through your generous gifts, children and families in the community continue to benefit from the mission-based care provided at Avera Children's Hospital.

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

© 2016 Avera, Sioux Falls, SD. All Rights Reserved.