Auction benefits youth groups

Holiday Tree Festival raises funds

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— The Routt County Fairgrounds is best known for its livestock auctions, but a different type of auction was going on at the Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall Sunday afternoon.

In the 14th Holiday Tree Festival, Auctioneer Ray Mazzola was taking bids for Christmas tress, centerpieces and wreaths. The Hayden Heritage Center sponsored the event.

For a $10 entry fee for trees, and a $5 entry fee for wreaths and centerpieces, local youth and service organizations made the items, and got to keep the money they raised.

"All the money from the auction goes back to the group," organizer Judy Green said.

The trees that sat before an audience of close to 60 people reflected the organizations that made them.

The Routt County CattleWomen had a tree of cows, horses, cowboys and cowgirls made out of wine corks, and the garland had the brands from area ranches.

A tree made to raise money for the visual and performing arts scholarship had feathered masks and comedy and tragedy drama masks.

The Destination Imagination tree was decorated with cutout hands and games. The Hayden Heritage Center had a tree with a Victorian theme and handcrafted ornaments.

Green said 11 Christmas trees, 19 wreaths and 12 centerpieces were auctioned off.

Sunday's auction raised $3,609.

The CattleWomen's tree went for the highest price, selling for $285 to the Town of Hayden.

That money going to the Cattlewomen will be earmarked for the organization's scholarship fund.

"You are never sure how an auction is going to turn out. It is always a surprise," Green said. "It often reflects the economy."

Hayden, Steamboat and Craig businesses bought the items that were up for auction.

Green said the Heritage Center is working to get support up and down the valley for the event.

Green said this year brought in the most wreaths the event has seen. Three of those wreaths were hand crafted by the 4H Critter Club.

Close to auctioneer sat Lauren Frentress, Jennifer Epp and Emily Hallenbeck, three members of the 4H Critter Club. They were writing down what the items sold for and took special note of three pine comb wreaths that were up for sale.

The girls had put in long hours to make the wreaths, collecting bags of pine combs from a local church's trees.

The club has decorated tress in the past, but the girls said they wanted to try wreaths this year. They said making the wreaths is the best part of the event, even if it meant going through a lot of super glue to get the pine combs to stick.

"They are really fun to make," 13-year-old Frentress said.

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