The Del Norte County Fairgrounds turned into a winter wonderland last Saturday as the meeting room filled with trees of all colors and sizes.
Emblem Club #175 was holding its 25th-annual Festival of Trees fundraiser, sparking the holiday spirit in Crescent City.
“We do this every year, and we have so much fun doing it,” said Linda Buzzini, the club’s president. “We really appreciate everyone coming down to support us.”
More than 30 trees lined the walls, each decorated uniquely and donated for the fundraiser.
Nearly 350 people strolled through the building to admire the trees, decorated in a variety of themes that included a dog tree, Minnie Mouse tree, and a movie-night tree.
“I enjoy the finished product and seeing how it turns out. Also, seeing my friends,” said Roslyn Goodrich, a member of the local Emblem Club for 35 years. “Every year, this is just done so well.”
Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance, posing for photos with children. Crescent City Elks Lodge exalted ruler Kevin Woodward and his wife, Cathy, had the honor of donning the costumes this year.
After perusing the trees, people placed raffle tickets in the buckets under the trees of their choice, hoping to win a tree and all the decorations it included. People paid an attendance fee of $15, then purchased raffle tickets for $1 each.
Included in the afternoon festivities was a salad luncheon, with wine and an apple crumble dessert, while classic Christmas tunes filled the air.
Del Norte High School Interact Club members and the Del Norte Sheriff’s Department Explorers unit helped serve the meal, while former Elks Lodge exalted rulers served the wine.
Then, anticipation spread through the room as the organizers and everyone’s favorite holiday couple – Mr. and Mrs. Claus - went from tree to tree, plucking raffle tickets and awarding attendees with meticulously decorated trees.
The money raised from the event goes to nonprofits, charities and veterans in the community.
“It’s one of the neatest events that they do, the Crescent City Emblem Club #175. They have been doing this for 25 years. The neatest thing about this is the community involvement,” said Everett Young, a past exalted ruler of the Crescent City Elks Lodge.
Club president Buzzini said they raised nearly $4,000 for the community last year.
Along with the trees, they also featured a scholarship wreath and tree, each filled with gift certificates and items donated by local businesses. The money raised from these items goes to scholarships for Del Norte High School graduates. Last year, they raised some $3,000 in scholarships.