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Festival of Trees tickets on sale now

November 27, 2012
By Marcia Morman

In its seventeenth year, the Festival of Trees is as vibrant as ever. This year the decision by the Fry Healthcare Foundation and the Board of Trustees of the Boundary Community Hospital is to run the Festival of Trees on an all-volunteer basis, preserving more of the monies generated through donated pledges and auction items for use in purchasing needed items for the local hospital.

Purchased items directly benefit the people in the community. The more services available at the local hospital, the more accessible healthcare is to all Boundary County residents, reducing traveling expenses and the expenditure of time for the patient and the patient’s family.

With that in mind, Linda Hiatt of Riverside Auto Center stepped up to organize and produce this year’s Festival of Trees. It is no small undertaking. Mrs. Hiatt is president of Fry Healthcare Foundation and has been deeply involved in years past. This is ratcheting up her activities another notch, jumping past high gear directly into overdrive.

The Festival of Trees has been trimmed to two days: Family Day and Gala Night.

Family Day is Friday, December 7, 2012, and the Gala Night is the following evening, Saturday, December 8, 2012.

That is, it has been trimmed to two days, if you do nothing but attend the events. However, for many people in Boundary County, it is much more than two days.

There are days of planning; days of writing letters asking for sponsor pledges; days of making wreaths and stockings; days of getting bids from local restaurants.

Then there are more days: days of creating the table and wall decorations; days of printing posters, forms, and programs; days of preparing a software program to make check-out easy; days of contacting people to emcee and run the auction; days of decorating trees; days of scheduling “tree angels” to hover over the trees safeguarding the treasures; and many more days chock full of activities.

Linda, of course, does not do all of this. Volunteers in the dozens help. Merchants, businesses and individuals donate money, gift certificates, and time to make the two-day event memorable for all. The appeal to participate is open. You are welcome, always.

So, what actually happens at the Festival of Trees?

The basic concept is that gifts are donated for a silent auction and for a live auction on the Gala Night, as well as to sell in a store called The Boutique. These gifts include a Christmas theme, such as beautifully decorated wreaths to hang inside or outside the home, as well as gifts that are welcome anytime of the year.

For instance, this year one of the donated items is tickets to a Seahawk Game. The money raised at the auction purchases the items of need decided before hand by the Fry Healthcare Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Friday, Family Day, begins at 10 a.m. It is a time for everyone to come to the fairgrounds and tour the trees and wreaths, munch on Christmas cookies, listen to local musical talent sing and perform, and visit with friends. Santa will arrive around 6:30 p.m. and stay until closing at 8 p.m.

If you have a hard-to-buy-for relative, check out The Boutique. The Boutique will be filled with gift items and open for shopping. The admission fee for Family Day is $5 for a family or a donation for the local food bank.

The Gala Night is more intense. Spirits are running high. Much work has preceded the night and everyone is anxious for his or her contribution to be a success.

Jill’s Café will cater a delectable dinner. Many people use the occasion to dress nicely — it is a party, after all! Doors open at 5 p.m. with a no-host bar. The Boutique is open for shopping. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. The Silent Auction begins at 6 p.m., and then the grand finale, the Live Auction, begins at 7 p.m.

The crowd grows louder and livelier as the auction continues. Someone wins a huge prize in the Envelope game. Finally, the purchasing of items is finished. The winning of prizes ends. The checkouts are completed.

The next day, the Rod Benders will deliver the trees to their new owners. Then, The Festival of Trees committee packs everything away until next year, when, about mid-summer, the Fry Healthcare Board begins, once again, planning in earnest for the next Festival of Trees.

Tickets for the Gala night are $35 in advance; $40 at the door. Ticket sales outlet are Boardwalk Boutique, Teresa’s Family Salon, The Gift Gallery, Sugar Plum Floral, Riverside Auto Center and online at

Please join the fun at the event of the year as we celebrate and give! To learn more, call (208) 267-3141 extension 4234.
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