VACAVILLE — This year’s Festival of Trees will have special meaning for its organizers because it will raise money to equip the community’s newly opened Opportunity House homeless shelter.
For the past 21 years, the festival auctioned decorated trees to raise money for the shelter at its old home on Catherine Street. Now a combination of community and local government support allowed it to open the doors on a much larger shelter on Bennett Hill Court.
“It is really a blessing that we have that,” said Kay Buchanan, one of the festival’s organizers. “They still need a lot of things at the new place and there are a lot of ways people can participate.”
Vacaville’s 22nd Annual Festival of Trees starts its run Tuesday at the Vacaville Skating Center at 551 Davis St. to again raise money for the Opportunity House. This year, visitors at the festival will be treated to a video presentation about the new Opportunity House and the people who are being helped there, Buchanan said.
“We will be letting people know more about the new Opportunity House throughout the festival when we don’t have live entertainment running,” Buchanan said. “Though so many people support Opportunity House, many have not seen it. This is an excellent opportunity for those who have not seen it.”
The festival will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for three days, with 50 large and 50 small Christmas trees decorated by local businesses, community groups and individuals up for auction.
It has not only become a holiday fundraising tradition, but a nice way to start the holiday season where visitors can walk among the decorated trees as well as take advantage of the sales of craft items, baked goods, live entertainment, raffles and children’s activities.
This year’s entertainment will include the Will C. Wood High School Jazz Ensemble, the St. Mary’s Church Choir, the Young Artists’s Conservatory of Music, the Alamo Elementary School Chorus, the Vanden High School Jazz Band, the Vacaville High School Chamber Choir and Women’s Choir, the Will C. Wood High School Orchestra, the LDS Youth Choir, the Narrow Gauge String Band and the Vaca Pena Middle School Orchestra.
The festival has raised $1.4 million for the Opportunity House since it started 21 years ago. Last year’s festival showcased 100 trees and raised $145,000, according to organizers.
Bidding starts at $100 on large trees and $25 for small trees. The silent auction ends at 8 p.m. Nov. 29. The winners will have their trees delivered for free the morning of Dec. 1.
For more information on the Festival of Trees, go online to http://vacavillefestivaloftrees.com.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.