Arts and Entertainment

Festival of Trees helps Whidbey kids

Only eight days after Thanksgiving, over 100 volunteers will fluff out the tree limbs, string the lights and get islanders plugged into the holiday spirit.

The 11th annual Festival of Trees Gala and Auction runs Friday, Dec. 4, on North Whidbey and Saturday, Dec. 5, on South Whidbey. Proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters, which match children in one-to-one relationships with positive role models.

“The Festival of Trees is a magical, beautiful event, but, in my opinion, the magic doesn’t come from the event itself,” said Tamra Sipes, a BBBS board member. “The magic comes from what the event provides for our children on Whidbey Island.”

The festival will feature uniquely decorated trees and assorted wreaths. Among this year’s creations are, “The Snow Fairy” by Dellann Blackstock, “Go Green” by the staff of the Greenhouse Florist and Nursery, and “Into Africa’s Uniqueness” by Mollie Anthony.

There will be both silent and live auctions, emceed by Chris Skinner and Bob Severns. Items will include a women’s poker party, a bathroom remodel and retreat get-aways.

New to North Whidbey’s auction, each guest who donates $1,000 during the fund-a-match portion will go home with an original glass ornament by artist Kelsea Donnell of Kelsea’s Creations by the Sea.

“We end up having nearly 150 volunteers throughout the island who donate hundreds of hours toward the completion of the two festivals. We are truly lucky to have such a dedicated group,” said executive director, Peggy Dyer.

The festival is a celebration designed to brighten the holiday season while brightening children’s futures, organizers said.

Here’s a list of Festival of Trees events to kick off this holiday season:

The North Whidbey Festival of Trees will be held at the Elk’s Lodge in Oak Harbor, starting at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 4. The doors open at 5 p.m. for the South Whidbey event at Useless Bay Golf and Country Club, Dec. 5. Tickets are $85 per person.

The fun continues Dec. 5 at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge. This year’s Teddy Bear Breakfast welcomes a score of new characters who will serve pancakes and other goodies with Frosty. There are two seatings; 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $6 for youth under age 12 and $10 for those 13 and older.

Finally, the public is welcome to check out the beautiful trees before they go home to new owners at a Community Open House on Dec. 5 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Elk’s Lodge and from 1 to 3 p.m. at Useless Bay Country Club.

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