PARKERSBURG - The annual Easter Seals Festival of Trees will be celebrating its 26th anniversary with more than 30 decorated trees, wreaths and garlands on display at the Blennerhassett Hotel.
"This year we will have 34 items on display, which includes 25 trees with the other nine items being mostly wreaths with a few garlands," said Jess Puglisi-Sanders with Easter Seals West Virginia.
The items will be on display from today through Dec. 14. The annual auction will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at the hotel beginning with a silent auction with the live auction of the trees set to begin at 7 p.m. Light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar will be available.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Parkersburg resident Kiki Angelos makes adjustments to the “Wedding of the Year 2012” bridal tree she designed as one of seven contributions she has made to this year’s annual Easter Seals Festival of Trees, which begins today at the Blennerhassett Hotel.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Parkersburg resident Kiki Angelos makes adjustments on the purple butterfly and turquoise tree tucked into a corner near the elevators on the first floor of the Blennerhassett Hotel.
Tickets to attend the event are $25 and will be available for purchase at the door or in advance at the Starbucks counter in the hotel.
This is the first time the auction will not take place on a Friday, as the organizers wanted to reach out to some different contributors.
"We wanted to try something different by having the auction on a Tuesday evening and we encourage everyone to attend the auction," Puglisi-Sanders said. "By having it on Tuesday we want to open it up to as many people as possible."
Also, for the event several individuals, organizations and businesses have contributed to the event either with monetary support or by creating and decorating the trees.
One of this year's decorators is Parkersburg resident Kiki Angelos, who has participated in the event for more than a decade.
"This year I am decorating seven trees, three wreaths and one garland, which is the most I've ever done," Angelos said. "It has been a lot of hard work, but it is worth if for such a good cause."
One of Angelos' trees is a tribute to Parkersburg native Nick Swisher. The trees range in design from cats to a bridal tree and a purple and turquoise butterfly tree. She also decorated a white tree with black and hot pink ornaments.
"I don't know exactly where the ideas come from," Angelos said. "It usually starts with me seeing one item and the idea for the whole tree comes from an ornament or a story."
Angelos has decorated trees with children in mind, including one based on the children's story "Goldilocks and the Three Bears."
"I love to see the excited faces of the children when they really like how a tree is decorated," she said.
Proceeds from the event fund local Easter Seals programs, including an equipment/purchase modification and home modification program, which provides communications devices, wheelchair equipment, and stair lifts for people with disabilities. The Easter Seals West Virginia therapy team has been providing in-home early intervention therapy services for kids for more than 10 years.
"All proceeds from this event will benefit kids," said Puglisi-Sanders.
In 2010, the auction brought in more than $50,000, with one tree being auctioned for $21,050.
This is the first year Easter Seals West Virginia has helmed the event, Puglisi-Sanders said.
"Because we are a local Easter Seals, all of the money raised through this event will stay in the Washington and Wood counties area," she said. "We like that we can stay local with this event for the first time."
A panel of five local judges with backgrounds in art will be picking the winning trees in a variety of categories. The "People's Choice" tree will be voted on by community members from today until the start of the auction next Tuesday.