18th Holiday Tree Festival raises record amount of money | SteamboatToday.com

18th Holiday Tree Festival raises record amount of money

Allison Plean

— Diane Holly, historian for Routt County Cattlewomen, attended the 18th Holiday Tree Festival to see how much their tree would get at auction.

Forty-one decorated trees, wreaths and centerpieces were donated to the event to raise money for 22 Hayden, Routt County and Moffat County organizations.

More than $5,800 was raised on Sunday, which is the largest amount of money the event has brought in since its inception.

The Routt County Cattlewomen’s western-themed Christmas tree sold for $260 to Twentymile Coal Company. The women plan to use the money for their general fund and for scholarships.

“Routt County Cattlewomen promote beef and agricultural awareness, education and lifestyle,” Holly said. “But what’s so cool about this event is that most of the money goes to all the charities of whoever did the trees.”

The Hayden Heritage Center hosted the event, which was made possible by the hard work of the museum’s board members.

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“It is the board’s way to give back to the community,” said Mary Pat Dunn, curator of the Hayden Heritage Center. “They work really hard and really put their hearts in it. And as you can see from the crowd, it’s very well attended.”

More than 125 people came to the event at the Routt County Fairgrounds exhibit hall, and many of them started arriving an hour early.

“The local people really stepped up to the plate,” Dunn said. “And local businesses really dove deep into their pocketbooks for these organizations.”

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger was the auctioneer at the event.

“He always does that for us,” Dunn said. “It’s a big gift of time and energy.”

The Rabbit Ears Rabbit Club submitted one of the more interesting Christmas trees that were auctioned off. The tree was decorated with gum drops, Sweet Tarts, Laffy Taffy, chocolate and popcorn.

“It keeps feeding friends as they come over,” Dunn said. “At the end of the season, you don’t have to take anything off because it will all be gone.”

Holly said the Routt County Cattlewomen already are working on the theme for next year’s tree.

“We are thinking about doing a ‘habitat tree’ that represents all of the animal habitats that agriculture supports, from songbirds to wildlife to fishing,” she said. “It would be cool because it would be educational at the same time.”

– To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204

or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com