Festival of Trees kicks off the holidays

Volunteer and donation opportunities are available

The sixth annual Washougal Festival of Trees is back to spread holiday cheer and raise funds for Washougal schools.

The two-day event will be held at Hathaway Elementary School, 630 24th St., in Washougal, Friday, Dec. 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The festival is presented by the Washougal Lions Foundation and features pre-decorated Christmas trees created by school and community groups to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

This year, festival Gold Sponsor Columbia River Realty will be leading the effort to solicit silent auction and raffle prizes to round out the fund raising.

“This is an amazing event and we want to do all we can to make it even more successful,” said Charline Wright, Columbia River Realty owner. “Our agents will be reaching out to businesses in our community to ask for their participation in any way that they can.”

“Each year the festival has grown,” said Chuck Carpenter, Festival of Trees Committee chairman. “Our first year we earned a little more than $2,000, and last year community support raised more than $11,000. The funds are distributed to all seven Washougal schools based in part on their level of participation and how many trees they decorated for auction. Each school determines how the funds can best meet the needs of their students.”

Funds from the 2014 festival were used on items such as science supplies, field trip scholarships, art materials, online reading programs, science night, Math Masters and school assembly speakers.

Another popular feature of the event is Saturday morning breakfast and photos with Santa from 9 a.m. to noon. A hearty breakfast, sponsored in part by Excavator Rental Services, is served for $3 per person. Photos with Santa are also $3 each.

Corporate sponsors also include Lone Wolf Investments, Miller Manufacturing, Linear Technology, Country Financial, Ponder Burner and Engineering, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Guild Mortgage, Washougal River Christmas Trees, Fireworks Photography, Columbia Litho and GFWC Camas Washougal Women’s Club.

For more information, follow the event’s Facebook page at Washougal Festival of Trees and the webpage at https://sites.google.com/site/washougalfestivaltreeswebsite.

To donate or volunteer to decorate a tree for the auction, contact Carpenter at 335-1947.