Festival of Trees is Sunday

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Christmas is about giving, and this weekend in Hayden, holiday shoppers can give to many people with a single purchase.

The 15th Holiday Tree Festival, held from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Routt County Fairgrounds exhibition hall, will feature Christmas decorations handmade by several nonprofit organizations in Routt and Moffat counties. Decorated trees, wreaths and centerpieces will be available by auction, with proceeds returning to the organization that made each item.

The event is sponsored by the Hayden Heritage Center.

"We encourage all businesses and everyone to come," said Hayden Heritage Center Board member and festival Chairwoman Judy Green. "It touches the holiday spirit. We always have some fun with it."

At least 10 trees, 15 centerpieces and 10 wreaths will be featured in this year's auction, Green said.

Among the 25 to 50 nonprofit organizations making items for the auction are the Routt County CattleWomen, Girl Scouts, Destination Imagination, Hayden High School's After-prom Committee, Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center, Hayden Valley Elementary School, Moffat County 4-H and Eastern Star. Eastern Star members recently voted to donate proceeds from the sale of its items to the family of Mark Lawton, the Hayden soldier who was killed in Iraq this summer.

Each group usually decorated its tree, wreath or centerpiece with a unique theme, Green said. While some stick to the traditional green and red Christmas colors, others go "off the wall," Green said.

"Every year, they're differently decorated," Green said. "The CattleWomen usually go with a Western theme, but we've had a railroad theme and even a Mardi Gras theme before."

Before a group's item is auctioned, one or more group representatives will tell the crowd how they made their creation and how they will use the money they earn from it, Green said.

The highest bid for a tree came about three years ago when a business paid $500, Green said, but the average price for a full-size tree is about $150 to $200.

Items purchased will be delivered by the museum committee. And, buyers can choose to have the items delivered to their home or business -- or donated to a local organization, the American Legion Hall or The Haven Senior Assisted Living Center, for example, that might enjoy the extra holiday cheer.

"You buy, we deliver," Green said.

For more information on the Holiday Tree Festival, call Judy Green at 276-3323

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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