Photo: Boy Scout Troop 104 Tree highlighted by local scouts Rowan White and Nick Forquer. Photo by Jerry Nissen
On Friday, November 30th, the Fraser Lions Club hosted the county’s favorite social event of the Holiday Season. The fifteenth annual Festival of Trees was again held at the Grand Park Community Rec Center. It was another great success with close to 1,000 people attending and a record of almost $16,000 raised for 33 local non-profits.
Dozens of hard working Lions Club volunteers were again led by Bob and Jan Boynton in the smooth production of the big event. The Lions’ Festival of Trees is unique and much more than a just another social event. It’s also a tremendous opportunity for many of our local non-profits to tell their story to the community, raising both awareness and money.
For newcomers to the Fraser Valley and visitors who are not familiar with the event, here’s how it works. Christmas trees and wreaths from the Lions Club Christmas tree lot at Murdoch’s are donated to lucky local non-profits. The non-profits then decorate the trees and wreaths and display them at the Festival. Volunteers from the non-profit tell their organization’s story to the guests as they enjoy the trees and encourage them to bid on their tree. Each non-profit gets 100% of the sale price for their tree or wreath.
To make sure the free event is even more fun, Lions Club volunteers provided appetizers, hot dogs and beverages at no charge. The Lions were even able to get Santa and Mrs. Claus to be there again this year. That just goes to show you how well loved the Lions are by the Claus family!
Fifteen years ago the first Festival of Trees was held in a small vacant storefront in Cooper Creek Square. Gary DeFrange, Winter Park Resort President at that time, was the generous high bidder on one of the half-dozen or so trees on display. Lions Club realized they were on to something! The event outgrew that location and moved to Beaver Village for a few years before settling on its current location at the Rec Center.
Lions Club works to cover most of the cost of the event by selling raffle tickets, wood carvings, desserts and through tip jars at the free bar and hot dog station.
Photos from the event, including photos of your kids with Santa and Mrs. Claus, are available for no charge from the Lions club website at fraservalleylions.org/