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Barrhead Festival of Trees raises over $10K for local charities

Annual auction moved to an online format because of COVID-19, though it probably won’t stay online in 2021
Festival of Trees (VM)
The 11th annual Barrhead Festival of Trees brought in over $10,000 in donations this year for a list of local charities and non-profit organizations. This year saw the usual live auction move to an online format; while necessary, the new format did not prove to be as popular.

While this year’s event was not as successful as in previous years, the 11th annual Barrhead Festival of Trees still managed to raise over $10,000 for a number of local charities and groups.

The annual fundraiser hosted by the Barrhead and District Chamber of Commerce took the form of an online auction this year, as the usual live auction and supper would have been impossible under current COVID-19 restrictions. 

A total of 27 Christmas trees, festive decorations and other items were available to bid on. The auction began a few weeks ago and closed at 5 p.m. on Dec. 18. 

Michelle Rau, who headed up the Festival of Trees for the Chamber, said the fundraiser was admittedly not as popular as other years 

“But given the state of our economy and the local pandemic, I think it turned out good,” she said. 

In any case, Rau said the online format was not overly well-received and will not return in 2021, pandemic permitting. 

A total of $7,905 was raised just through online bids, with the family games night package donated by Sanderman’s Home Hardware and a spa package donated by The Co-operators — Jensen Agencies being among the more popular items. 

Rau said they also received a number of other donations to bring the fundraising total to over $10,000. 

All donations to the Festival of Trees are directed by the donor to a list of charities and non-profit organizations, including Blue Heron Support Services, Family and Community Support Services, 4-H, the Tree of Hope, Santa’s Anonymous, the Food Bank, the Barrhead Pregnancy Care Centre, the Ripple Connection, Barrhead Victim’s Services and so on. 

“A huge thank goes out to our local business community for your donations and also to all the lucky ‘winners’ for your purchases,” Rau said. “We live in a truly generous community.”

Kevin Berger,