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Barrhead Festival of Trees shifts to online format for 11th year

Bidding on items donated by local businesses and non-profit organizations open until 5 p.m. on Dec. 18
Festival of Trees (VM)
This amusing display of a beaver felling a Christmas tree was one of the items up for auction at the 2019 Festival of Trees. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no live auction this year, but you can view and even bid on items in a virtual auction.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Barrhead Chamber of Commerce to shift its 11th annual Festival of Trees auction online, with bids open on a variety of festive items donated by local businesses until 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18. 

The items up for auction in the Festival of Trees can be viewed by visiting the Chamber of Commerce's Charity Solutions page. Alternatively, you can go to the Barrhead Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page and follow a link to the website. 

There are currently 23 unique items donated by local businesses and non-profit organizations to bid on. (Many of these items are on display at the businesses and organizations that donated them.)

Michelle Rau, who sits on the Festival of Trees organizing committee, said there are a few items that “are hot to bid on,” such as a spa package donated by Jensen Agencies and a therapeutic Christmas tree. 

To actually put in a bid, you have to sign up for an account with Charity Solutions or send a text to (251) 263-0400 with the item’s three-letter code and a bid amount. 

You can then either pay online or bring down cash or a cheque to the Barrhead Scotiabank, where Rau is the manager. 

She said there is also a "buy right now” option where people can purchase an outside sign for $100. 

“We will also be taking donations like we do every year if you didn’t end up being a successful winning bidder,” she said. 

Proceeds from the Festival of Trees will go to Blue Heron Support Services, the Barrhead Food Bank, the Thrive program, Santa’s Anonymous, 4-H, the Barrhead Pregnancy Centre, the Tree of Hope, Victim’s Services, the Ripple Connection, Klondike Trail Search and Rescue and other charities. 

The Festival of Trees originally started in 2010 when Cheryl Morris came up with the idea of auctioning off decorated Christmas trees and wreaths as a fundraiser. 

In its inaugural year, the event raised $1,692.50 for the Barrhead and District Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity’s Barrhead project.

Kevin Berger,