Laura Wiens, The Triplicate

18th annual event expands into county fairgrounds venue

About 370 people immersed themselves in holiday glitter at Saturday's 18th annual Festival of the Trees sponsored by the Crescent City Emblem Club.

Sixty-four decorated Christmas trees donated by various organizations and individuals were raffled off during a luncheon that was a fundraiser for local charities. Because of its growing popularity, the event was moved this year to the fairgrounds.

Lunch attendees enjoyed performances by local children from the Sarah Valley Dance Studio. The girls ranging in age from 3 to 16 gave ballet and acrobatic demonstrations.

Emblem Club members served up chicken cheese soup, chef's salad and breadsticks.

On Friday, final touches were applied to the trees before raffle ticket-buyers got a sneak preview of what would be given out Saturday.

Layne and Kirsten Crist were decorating a live tree with what Layne called "vintage lights and vintage ornaments." It was their first year taking part in the festival.

Kirsten said she had collected ornaments resembling those she remembered from her childhood for the tree. She said putting the tree together was "a great family activity," and that their son Owen, 8, helped.

"I love Christmas so it works for me," Kirsten said.

Marcy Bohannon was decorating a white tree with blue trimmings that she called the "Winter Wonderland Tree."

This was also her first year to donate a tree, and of course she went with her favorite color for the decorations.

"I'll be interested to see what I come up with next year," Bohannon said.

More than 35 volunteers helped to put on the event, said one of the organizers, Charlotte Fleshman, junior past president of the Emblem Club.

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