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Festive trees decorate Whidbey in Island-wide effort for a good cause

By REBECCA OLSON
South Whidbey Record Reporter
November 25, 2012 · Updated 2:46 PM
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Paige Sherman, an employee at Flowers by the Bay in Freeland, created a Christmas wreath decorated with white owl chicks for Festival of Trees. She said owner Tracy Schultz supports the benefit for Festival of Trees and the fact it “draws attention to the stores.” A number of South Whidbey banks and stores are participating with wreaths and trees. / Jim Larsen / The Record

Uniquely decorated trees and wreaths may be in the forefront of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County’s 14th annual Festival of Trees gala and auction, but what really shines are the life-changing relationships the event funds.

The island-wide Festival of Trees culminates at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge. Tickets cost $85.

This entertaining formal event, featuring uniquely decorated trees and wreaths and several auction items, benefits children on Whidbey Island by partnering them with positive role models through Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nonprofit organization.

“The 14th annual Festival of Trees is not just a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters, but also a community celebration,” said Peggy Dyer, executive director. “The themes of the decorated trees, wreaths and garlands are so unique and creative each year as designers begin thinking of and shopping for their ideas early in the year so they are able to get everything that they may need.”

Along with the gala and auction, Festival of Trees includes several family activities throughout the weekend. The Teddy Bear Character Breakfast includes two sittings at 9 and 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Elks Lodge in Oak Harbor. Tickets cost $5 for youths 12 years and under and $10 for 13 and older.

Trees will be on display at a free community open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge. The public is welcome to view the decorated trees before they are delivered to their new owners.

A new addition to the Festival of Trees this year will be beautifully decorated trees and wreaths now on display in 12 business locations throughout Freeland, Langley and Clinton. This twist is meant to bring the beauty of the event into a more public setting, Dyer said.

Community members are encouraged to tour all the trees and wreaths and bid on these between now and Nov. 29, when the highest bidder will be notified.

Dyer has assisted in leading the event for the last 14 years. In her departing year with the agency, she said she hopes to leave a lasting legacy that continues to encourage community members to become a part of the program, in whatever capacity they can give.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is built off the strength of our community. Our partners, volunteers, sponsors and community members are crucial in the growth of our youths. With the support of our community, all things are possible in giving our youth a better future,” Dyer said.

To make reservations to attend the Festival of Trees gala or the Teddy Bear Character Breakfast or for more information, visit www.bbbsislandcounty.org or contact 360-279-0644 or bbbs@whidbey.net.

 

 

A wreath or a tree?

Make a bid on your favorite wreath or tree at the following South Whidbey locations:

 

 

Freeland:

Flowers by the Bay – wreath

Whidbey Island Bank – large tree

Windermere – large tree

 

 

Langley:

Eddie’s – small tree

Prima Bistro – wreath

2nd Street Wine Shop – wreath

The Inn at Langley – outdoor wooden canopy bed

Whidbey Island Bank – mid-size tree

 

 

Clinton:

Anchor Books – wreath

Les Schwab – large tree

Whidbey Island Bank – mid-size tree

 

 

Highest bidder will be notified Nov. 29.

All funds support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County.

 

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