By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: November 2014
Safenet volunteer Layla Freeman holds some of the items that were a part of last year’s silent auction at the Festival of Trees.
Rustic Elegance is the event theme for Safenet Services’ 11th annual Festival of Trees Gala & Auction, set for Friday, December 5. Proceeds from the popular holiday event will benefit services at the domestic abuse shelter, which opened its doors at their new facility in 2013.
The former Drug Warehouse building will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland to accommodate the festive event, which will begin at 6 p.m. with the silent auction, followed by the live auction at 7:30. Trees, large and small, decorated by individuals and businesses in a variety of styles and themes, will be on display and auctioned off during the evening.
“We are still looking for individuals, businesses and organizations to design, decorate and donate Christmas trees,” says Susan Wolfenbarger, Safenet Services assistant director. “This is a great time for businesses to bring their staff together for a worthy cause and get in the Christmas spirit.”
Each tree must be pre-lit with large trees, seven to nine feet, designed and decorated using a holiday theme. Trees can be decorated on site on December 4 and 5 until 2 p.m. Smaller three-foot trees can be decorated in any theme. “For example, some smaller trees have had a sports theme in the past,” she says. “Whether large or small, each artificial tree must be new and delivered to the old Drug Warehouse by December 4.” Participants must call Safenet Services in advance to register their tree and receive a copy of the decorating guidelines. “Each year, we’re just amazed at how gorgeous the trees are,” says Donna Grabow, executive director. “We think, how can they top this? It’s just unbelievable what they come up with each year.”
The auctioneer for the 2014 Festival of Trees will be Brian Marlin of Inola. One of the live auction items will be prime rib dinner for six hosted by the mayor of Claremore, Bill Flanagan, and his wife, Lou, First Lady of Claremore. In the past, live and silent auction items have included bed and breakfast retreats and limousine wine tours.
“In 2011, we added an outdoor winter décor category,” says Wolfenbarger. “We auctioned off the 30-day use of a beautiful life-size outdoor metal sleigh and reindeer as a lawn display. We deliver the display the day after the auction and then pick it up after New Year.”
A plaque on the sleigh features the name of each donor who purchases the display for use. Names will continue to be added each year. A sign is also installed with the sleigh display stating “Safenet Services: Taking a Stand against Domestic Violence.”
The popular Wine Pull event will return this year, but with a new twist. Tickets are still $35 per person for an all-inclusive price for beverages and hors d’oeuvres. Sponsors at time of printing include MC Petroleum, Jack Kissee Ford, RCB Bank, Buck Willis - CPA, Stephen Guilfoyle, Inola Tool and Rental Equipment, Asset Industrial, Per4mance, The Cozy Cottage, Grand Bank, Artist Helen Koons Gragert, Premier Bone and Joint, Jim Glover Chevrolet, Hillcrest Hospital Claremore, Russell Guilfoyle, and BancFirst. Event sponsorships are still available in a variety of types and levels. “We hope this event continues to be successful,” says Wolfenbarger. “We’re dependent on the community to help support the services we provide to women and children.”
Safenet is a United Way Agency and Certified by the Office of the Attorney General.
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After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.