BARRHEAD – For the first time since 2019, the Barrhead Festival of Trees will be held live and in-person.
On Saturday, Nov. 26, the Barrhead and District Chamber of Commerce is hosting its biggest fundraiser of the year, the Festival of Trees, with all the proceeds going to area charities and not-for-profit organizations.
In 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic and public health restrictions, the event was limited to an online auction.
Festival of Trees committee member Amy Dievert said the annual event has come a long way since its inception.
In 2010, Cheryl Morris had the idea of having community members buy and decorate Christmas trees and wreaths and auctioning them off, with the proceeds going to local charities and not-for-profit organizations.
Since then, toolboxes and centrepieces have also been added as popular auction items.
In its inaugural year, the event raised $1,692.50 for the Barrhead and District FCSS Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity’s Barrhead project.
In more recent, non-pandemic years, the event often raised over $30,000.
This year, 13 different charities are on the list of beneficiaries, and the auction will be limited to seven Christmas trees. There are no limits to the number of wreaths, toolboxes, or centrepieces.
The process to be added to the list is straightforward, Dievert said, adding the committee decided to limit the number of trees, partially due to space concerns but mostly because they are no longer the featured item.
"Some of our more unique items garnered more interest. For instance, the last time we held the event in-person, a fire pit and a cat tree drew more interest than most of the trees," Dievert said.
The Festival of Trees gala takes place Nov. 26 at the Barrhead Elementary School gym. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with cocktails starting at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m.
After dinner, the Dueling Pianos (Shayne Young and Jenesse Graling) will perform their unique, energy-filled renditions of songs requested by the audience. Between breaks in the entertainment, local auctioneer Charlie Parsons will auction the items.
In addition to the main auction, there will also be a silent auction.
Tickets for the gala are $65 or $520 for a table of eight and $650 for a table of 10. The gold package is $725 and includes eight tickets, a bottle of wine for the table and eight drink tickets. A platinum package (only six available) is also available for $850, which includes eight dinner tickets, two bottles of wine for the table, along with eight drink tickets.
Platinum package buyers will also have their business logo advertised on the Chamber's social media platforms and be recognized with an advertisement in the Barrhead Leader.
However, she said the true stars of the evening are the trees, wreaths, table centrepieces and toolboxes that will be auctioned for charity. For more information about the gala or to reserve tickets, contact Michelle Rau at the Scotiabank at 780-674-8407, ext. 4000 or Amy Dievert via TD Canada Trust at 780-674-2216, ext. 250. People can also purchase their tickets at www.showpass.com, by searching for Barrhead Festival of Trees 2022.
To donate an item for the silent auction, call Paula Croft at Polished Dental at 780-284-0127 or Rau.