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United Way, Blennerhassett Hotel to host Festival of Trees

The tree that drew the highest bid in the 2019 Festival of Trees was designed by Kiki Angelos and went for $1,000. This year’s show was organized by the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. (File Photo)

PARKERSBURG — The United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley and the Blennerhassett Hotel have joined together to hold the 2020 Festival of Trees celebration, representatives have announced.

The event will be held Nov. 20 through Dec. 10 and will feature numerous themed Christmas trees decorated by residents. It was previously sponsored by the Easterseal Society, which recently announced this year’s cancellation.

Tickets will go on sale Monday online at uwamov.com.

“The Blennerhassett Hotel reached out to us about collaborating with them to keep the event viable,” said Stacy DeCicco, executive director of the United Way Alliance.

The Signature Sponsor is Conley Law Office, DeCicco said. Jan Dils Attorney at Law will sponsor the breakfast on Dec. 6.

The 2019 Festival of Trees raised $15,000 for the Easterseals Society. This year’s show, organized by the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, opens Friday at the Blennerhassett Hotel. (File Photo)

Meetings were held and it was determined the event could be held with “health and safety at the forefront of our priorities,” she said.

“Fundraising for all nonprofits is incredibly challenging right now, but also critically essential,” DeCicco said. “The opportunity to partner with the Blennerhassett team in an effort to keep a community event going, to do that in a safe way for all involved, and to be able to have the proceeds from the event support critical work right here in our local community … it is a wonderful and very well timed opportunity for our organization.

“We are thrilled to be working with the team at the Blennerhassett to bring this event to the community in a safe way,” DeCicco said. “We are humbled by their choice to reach out to us for partnership.”

The Blennerhassett Hotel is looking forward to the event.

“The Blennerhassett Hotel is excited to carry on the tradition of Festival of Trees this year and partner with the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley to raise money for a great local organization,” said Wayne Waldeck, an owner of the downtown Parkersburg landmark. “Visiting the hotel to view the trees is a holiday tradition for our community and we look forward to welcoming you once again this year.”

Safety of the guests and staff is the highest priority of the hotel, he said.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing measures must be followed and face coverings must be worn at all times when viewing the trees and walking throughout the hotel,” Waldeck said. “We know that if everyone follows this, we can have a safe and successful event.”

The auction will be held on Dec. 10 and will be a hybrid between a livestreamed event and an in-person, limited capacity event, DeCicco said.

Planned are swags, wreaths and two sizes of trees, DeCicco said. Submissions will be slightly scaled back this year to allow for safe distancing and to accommodate best COVID-19 protocols, she said.

Those interested in entering a tree can call the United Way at 304-580-0570.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com

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