Christmas time is near. And what better way to celebrate than to decorate a few trees?
The Festival of Trees does just that, but with the added benefit of also being a charity initiative.
This annual event is once again coming to the Civic Centre and will see 16 Christmas trees up for auction, all donated and decorated by local businesses and individuals with proceeds from auction sales going to the Richard Larsen Barr Colony Foundation and the Lloydminster Community Youth Centre.
“In the past years, (the money) has gone towards any work that needs to be done at the museum,” said Cate Dow, co-treasurer of the Festival of Trees. “This year, we’ve also partnered with the (Lloydminster) Community Youth Centre, so half of the proceeds from the Festival of Trees will be going to them, which they will be using to get set up in their new building.”
Each tree at the event will be named and decorated according to this year’s theme of “enchanted forest.” People can expect to see the hall decorated in woodland fashion, with allnatural woods and animals, making for an immersive, Christmas experience.
“There can be quite some variety in the way that people decorate the trees,” said Dow, as each tree ranges in size from four and half – nine feet and usually auctions for anywhere between $500 - $4,000.
“On the night of the gala, we have a large silent auction; items as well that are donated through businesses in the community. Then they live-auction off the trees,” said Dow. Upon purchase, trees are usually donated to nonprofit support organizations throughout the city.
This volunteer-driven evening, beginning on Monday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., will also offer hor d’oeurves and wine to guests, all donated by the community. But for those who were unable to get tickets to the auction and gala, there is always the Cookies and Carols event this Saturday, Nov. 29, where everyone can still view the decorated trees and take in the new theme this year.
The Saturday’s event is free by donation (whatever you can afford) and will take place from 1- 4 p.m. Local entertainment for the day will lend even more atmosphere to the Civic Centre, with a jazz band and a performance by highland dancers being just some of the things guests can expect to see.
“It’s really magical. It’s really something to see,” said Dow. “I get excited every year.”