By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: Other | Issue: December 2009
Members of the Festival of Trees committee prepare decorations for the annual fundraiser to benefit Safenet Services. (L to R): Andy Willis, Susan Wolfenbarger, Ann Harmon, Vicki Mosier, Cindy Griffith, Cari Bohannon, Linda Coons, Tammy Thomas and Tabi Poole.
‘Twas the night before the Festival of Trees and all through the RSU Centennial Center ballroom, children were inspecting the gingerbread village, enjoying Christmas treats and visiting with Santa. For the second year, Safenet Services is kicking off their annual Festival of Trees Gala and Auction with a sneak preview. On Thursday, December 3 will be the special Canes, Cookies & Cocoa Night.
Last year's preview and children's night was so successful that Safenet Services, a United Way Agency, decided to continue the Thursday night event so that children would also have a special holiday event to attend. Safenet launched its capital campaign to build a 30-bed shelter to replace the existing shelter, which only holds 12 with three baby beds. "We have had to turn away as many as 18 women in a month this year," says Executive Director Donna Grabow. This is the fifth year for the Festival of Trees Gala, one of two major fundraising events for the agency.
From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., children of all ages will be enchanted by the storytelling of Lynda Fritz as she tells Christmas stories. “Children will be able to select a book from Lynda’s basket of books to take home and read during the holiday,” says Susan Wolfenbarger, event organizer.
“This year we have two new activities for the children on Canes, Cookies & Cocoa Night,” adds Susan. “Santa’s Sweet Shop will be open so children can enter the candy store and take home treats for the holidays. There will also be a North Pole Station where children will decorate their own Christmas Train Card, with a variety of stickers to choose from.” The performer for the evening will be Circle G, 4-H student Jacob Daley. He will be playing a variety of Christmas pieces on the piano for all age groups to enjoy. Who knows? Maybe Jacob will even accompany guests to a chorus or two of “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Children will also be able to have their photo made with Santa Claus for free. Family and individual Christmas portraits will also be available through Cornerstone Photography, with packages starting as low as $12.
The Festival of Trees, featuring elegantly decorated Christmas trees from 4 to 9 feet tall, will kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 4. Last year’s event featured 21 trees. In addition to the beautiful trees available for sale during the silent and live auctions will be wreaths and other holiday items. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.
“This year, Ann Harmon of Ann Harmon’s Designs has once again designed many outstanding trees that will look beautiful in anyone’s home,” says Susan. “The trees range from a beautiful bronze color scheme to a woodland forest tree.”
Jim Smith of Smith Family Auctions will be the auctioneer for the evening. “If you have never been to the Festival of Trees Friday night event, it is worth the ticket price just to see Jim in action,” says Susan. Larger Christmas trees that are purchased will be delivered free of charge on Saturday morning. Friday night's entertainment lineup will be Nicole, Jordan and Christopher Flippo, who will be performing Christmas selections using a variety of styles and instruments, including the piano and violin, and some fiddling to boot!
Thursday night ticket prices are $10 for adults and $3 for children. However, one child is free for each adult ticket purchased. Friday night tickets are $35 each. Tickets can be purchased at Safenet Services, located at 2235 N. Hwy. 88, or at the door.
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.