Chemainus Festival of Trees raises almost $4,000 for food bank

The Chemainus Gardens Festival of Trees recently presented a cheque for $3,872 to Harvest House.

Margaret Perry (centre) hands over a cheque for $3

Margaret Perry (centre) hands over a cheque for $3

A $3,800 donation to the Chemainus Harvest House Food Bank marked the grand finale of Chemainus Gardens’ second annual Festival of Trees Dec. 28.

Margaret Perry, the festival’s co-ordinator, handed over a cheque for $3,872 to Sylvia Massey and Rick O’Doherty of Harvest House during the festival’s closing ceremony.

Perry said they raised $2,372 through tree sponsorships at the festival’s Christmas tree decorating contest, a silent auction and donations. An additional $1,500 was donated by Chemainus Gardens owner Len Waunsbraugh.

Perry credited nine local businesses and associations as sponsors of trees for this year’s Christmas tree competition, adding that this year’s winning tree belonged to the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary. Second place went to Saint Joseph’s Elementary School in Chemainus. Festivalgoers chose the Health Care Auxiliary’s tree as winner of the “visitor’s favourite choice” tree.

Those who bid on silent auction items paid close to face value, Perry added, for items donated by more than a dozen local businesses.

Additional funds were raised through donations offered in exchange for portraits taken by local photographers Daphne and Art Carlyle and for a chance to paint ceramics provided by Crafty Cuppa.

Due to the weather, fewer people turned out for the scheduled carolling sessions than had been expected, Perry said, but overall the second annual Festival of Trees was “a huge success.”

Perry said she’s already planning a number of refinements for next year’s festival including a “Twelve Days of Christmas” angle.

The festival featured a poetry contest for local students, with winning poets receiving Kobo e-readers from sponsors Future Shop and Staples.

See our Jan. 8 edition for the winning entries.