United Way Festival of Trees, Nov. 16 at the Aqua Turf

christmas-tree-decorated-4By JEN CARDINES

STAFF WRITER

The United Way of Southington’s annual Festival of Trees & Traditions will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Aqua Turf. The event, which serves as United Way’s second largest fundraiser of the year, has a new venue and a lot to offer.

United Way of Southington’s executive director Jack Eisenmann said that it’s a high energy, fun, and active night. “Over the years we outgrew Hawk’s Landing, so this year we moved to the Aqua Turf,” he said. “We’re expecting 200 to 300 people this year.”

The event features donated and decorated trees from individuals and organizations that are available during the auction session. Dozens of trees and other holiday items will be featured, along with hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, wine raffle, and the elves workshop. The trees that are decorated at the event get auctioned off and delivered to the recipient that evening.

The elves workshop room started at last year’s Festival of Trees, and provides affordable items for sale. Unlike the silent auction, where prices start at $25 and go up, nothing in the elves room is higher than $10. It allows people to support the fundraiser and take something home without stressing their budgets.

united-way-webIt is a unique asset to the event that was started by Janet Mellon and Linda Mendelsohn of Southington Community Services (SCS). Throughout the year, SCS receives many donations. Mellon and Mendelsohn put aside Christmas and winter items that come through so that they can be featured in the elves room.

“Everything we receive is donated, so we gain full profit,” Mendelsohn said. All of the money goes back to the United Way of Southington to help organizations and individuals in need.

Eisenmann added that many people enjoy this part of the festival because it offers inexpensive Christmas shopping and they are thrilled for the bargains.

Tickets are $15 and $10 for seniors 55 and over. The money raised during the Festival of Trees goes to the United Way to fund agencies such as Bread for Life, Southington Community Services, and the YMCA.

Those wishing to donate various cultural holiday representations can include trees and exhibits with decorations and lights up to six feet in height. Wreaths, garlands, quilts, door decorations, miniature trees, menorahs, flags and other creations are also accepted.

Anyone wishing to donate for the event can call Barb McKay at 860-628-0700 or the United Way at 860-628-4565.

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