RUSKIN – Some of the most brightly colored and uniquely creative Christmas décor to be found is gracing various locations across the South County this week, courtesy of the 2012 Festival of Trees at the SouthShore Regional Library.
And, after the New Year begins, students at two local elementary schools will benefit from the competitive bidding among about 150 South County residents for the right to take home either a fully trimmed floor model or table top tree, or one of the one-of-a kind holiday wreaths.
A total of 21 trees, some of them decorated by students themselves, and 18 wreaths, some of them matching trimmed trees, were donated by sponsoring area commercial enterprises and business people to make the second annual Festival of Trees an “outstanding” success, according to Frances Hereford, event chair person.
The library’s supporting organization, Friends of SouthShore Regional Library, coordinated the event which culminated with entertainment and appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus on Saturday, December 8, throughout the facility.
A final tally of the proceeds of the event, to be shared by Ruskin Elementary and Doby Elementary in Covington Park, has not been completed, Hereford said this week. However, she added that bidding for the holiday décor was vigorous with offers for the finished trees ranging from $40 to $80 and several attracting bids in the $150 bracket. The wreaths pulled offers of between $20 and $125, she added.
The event, in addition to being an enjoyable activity for students or teachers creating a decorated tree , for visiting library patrons and for bidders with a taste for competition, also is a fund raiser for the participating schools as well as for the library’s Friends group, Hereford said. But, the former Friends president who also has operated a local small business, added that if net proceeds should be below $1,500, it is likely the entire amount will be divided between the two schools for use on behalf of students.
Planning for the 2012 festival began in September with Doby Elementary for the first time joining Ruskin Elementary in laying some of the ground work, the chairwoman noted. The Ruskin school alone took part in the 2011 festival. The schools were asked to seek sponsors in their communities.
Silent auction bidding on the decorated and lighted trees displayed festively along the main aisle of the library opened on Monday, November 26, and continued until 6 PM on December 8, Hereford said.
In addition, Ruskin Elementary produced gift baskets which were displayed and for which bids were taken. While this effort was a school project, Hereford estimated that another $100 was generated for Ruskin students as a result.
The South County businesses and entrepreneurs sponsoring trees and wreaths included Bob Bartling Painting, Susanne Condon, Dickman Real Estate, Dutch Retreat Massage, Skin and Nail Therapy, Brenda Eastep, The Fish House, Harriet’s Flowers, Frances Hereford and Kim Bauer, Fringe Benefits Salon, H&R Block, Carolyn Jones, Kids R Kids, Osprey Construction, Ruskin Woman’s Club, Ruskin Elementary’s second and fourth grades, SouthShore Chamber of Commerce and Zipperer’s Funeral Home.
Looking ahead to the 2013 version of the Festival of Trees, Hereford said she’d like to involve a third school in the third year to continue to generate funding to underwrite supplies, activities and programs for South County youngsters – and to again light up South Hillsborough.
Copyright 2012 Melody Jameson