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Oh, Christmas trees
Getting into the spirit of the Christmas season will also mean contributing to a good cause this weekend.
The third annual Festival of Trees will take place from Friday, Nov. 30 until Sunday, Dec. 2, with proceeds benefitting two Oak Harbor non-profit organizations.
Big Brothers / Big Sisters of Island County and Citizens Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse each received about $24,000 last year from the three-day event, and both are hopeful that the community will turn out once again to show its support.
Festival of Trees will take place at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge at 155 NE Ernst Street, beginning with a silent auction at a gala event Friday evening. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., attendees of the black-tie event will enjoy hors doeuvres and dancing while bidding to purchase the dozen decorated trees, nine wreaths and more than 20 other auction items donated by the community and Whidbey Island businesses.
Tickets to the gala are on sale for $50 each, and may be purchased at BB / BS, CADA, ERA Acorn Properties and Whidbey Island Bank, up until the evening of the event or until the 200 tickets are sold out.
The trees and wreaths were decorated Tuesday by a large group of volunteers, said Peggy Stanford, director of Big Brother/ Big Sister Oak Harbor office.
We have a huge volunteer pool. We have a gathering of probably 100 people decorating these trees, Stanford said.
Each decorator brings his or her own creativity and style, Stanford said, and the end result is an assortment of exquisitely and tastefully adorned trees and wreaths.
The trees will be placed around the perimeter of the main Elks lodge room, and party-goers will enjoy the ambiance of a room lit with the glow of twinkling lights. Through the course of the evening, attendees may place bids on all auction items.
The trees will remain in the Elks Lodge throughout the weekend, until a group of volunteers with a moving van delivers them to the successful bidders on Sunday. All lights and decorations will be wired onto the trees, Stanford said, so that the trees arrive safely at their destinations.
Weekend event for the community
Community members will be able to enjoy the trees on Saturday and Sunday by attending one or more of the weekend events that are part of Festival of Trees.
Last year, the Teddy Bear Breakfasts single seating was so popular that this year there will be two.
The two Teddy Bear Breakfasts will be held at the Elks Lodge on Saturday morning. Families may choose to attend either the 8:30 a.m. seating or the second seating at 10:30 a.m. After a breakfast of French toast and eggs, children of all ages will be treated to a puppet show and entertainment by a clown.
Big Brothers / Big Sisters and CADA ask that attendees of the Teddy Bear breakfast bring a new stuffed animal to donate to a child in a crisis situation in Island County.
Tickets to the Teddy Bear Breakfasts may be purchased for $5 each at Alaska USA Mortgage, The Daily Grind, Discount Party Store, Moving and Grooving, and Jones Accounting.
New this year to the festivities, Stanford said, is a High Tea on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. Adults can expect a relaxing afternoon, enjoying tea, scones, fresh pastries and entertainment by Father Christmas and strolling Dickens carolers.
On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Festival of Trees will open up to all in the community who want to come by and enjoy the holiday atmosphere. Refreshments and holiday entertainment will be provided, and there is no set admission fee. Visitors are asked for donations of any amount, accepted at the door.
Thats the time anybody can come, said Valerie Stafford, executive director of CADA.
Visitors at the Sunday open house in past years have been left in awe by the beauty of the trees, and often use the viewing as a way to gather creative ideas for decorating their own Christmas trees.
You get great ideas by looking at the trees, Stafford said.
The Festival of Trees benefits youth programs of both Big Brothers / Big Sisters and CADA.
The money is being used for youth programs. It is really helping our kids, Stafford said.