By Ezra Black
On Nov. 18, Christmas came early to Fernie’s Park Place Lodge as about 100 attendees were wowed by a forest of spangle and ornaments at the launch of the first ever Elk Valley Festival of Trees.
The event is a major fundraiser for the Fernie Rotary and will support many other wwcharities in the valley.
There are ten trees competing in the festival. Each has a sponsor and one-to-two designers who decorated their trees using $1,400 worth of adornments. Voting will continue to decide which tree is the prettiest until a Grande Finale event Dec. 4. It is rumoured Santa will attend the final vote count, which will include photo opportunities and brunch.
Votes cost $5 for one or five for $20. Each vote will be worth $3.75 to the sponsored community group and the most popular tree will win a $1000 grand prize. All voters are entered into a prize draw for a cash prize of up to $500.
The competition will be fierce, as each tree has been uniquely and beautifully decorated.
Event organizer Tammy Ogden decorated a tree called Pray For Snow, which is sponsored by Teck Resources. All funds from that tree will go to the Sparwood Food Bank.
Another tree aptly named Vintage Christmas, sponsored by Urban Settler and designed by Melyssa Monfee, features lots of vintage apparel plus little bird’s nests and foxes. Funds raised by this tree will go to the Elk Valley Hospital Foundation.
Then there is a tree that went heavy on black and gold ornaments. It is called Black Gold and is sponsored by Black Gold Coach Lines. Funds raised by this tree will support the Balmer North 50th Anniversary and Miners’ Memorial.
After the lighting, the Spirits of Christmas event was held at the lodge where guests enjoyed wine, beer and spirit tastings.
In the coming weeks, Fernie Rotary is hosting a series of events to allow people the chance to view the trees and vote.
A Holiday Fair and vendors market is scheduled for Nov. 25 and 26 and on Dec. 3 there will be a couples date night with a free movie party upstairs for kids.