The Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees at The Arts Centre, where the Martinsburg Sunrise Rotary and sponsors decorate trees that department stores would envy. The trees will be auctioned for around $600 to $700 and one as much as $2,700.

The festival, which is in its fifth year, is a fundraiser for The Arts Centre where the public bids on decorated trees and 95 percent of the proceeds goes to the Center.

In its first year, the festival had eight trees and raised $17,000, and now has 20 trees and has raised $75,000 to date. The only thing that limits the festival is electricity, Roger Shallis of the Rotary says, because the old Federal Building cannot handle the load.

The trees are decorated according to themes. This year will include traditional, nontraditional, Victorian, children’s and a novelty theme. Last year’s themes included one dedicated to Hurricane Katrina victims and Mardi Gras and another had a Lionel train set chug through the tree.

Saturday the public can preview the trees for $5, which includes food and drink. The festival is also a judged contest for best decorated. Throughout the festival, people can vote for their favorite by placing dollars in containers in front of the tree.

The trees are then put up for auction, first by silent bids. Then November 18 the trees will be auctioned to the highest bidder. The auction has a $50 admission fee. The winner will have the tree delivered in tact and fully decorated to the new owner. The festival also features wreaths and local florists.

The Festival of Trees >The Arts Centre, 300 W. King St. > 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through November 25. Closed Sundays and Thanksgiving. Also closed Tuesday and Wednesday for a private event. Cost: $5 for opening reception Saturday. $50 for Tree Auction Night on November 25.

For more information call 263-0244 or visit > www.theartscentre.org

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