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COVID-19 won’t stop the Festival of Trees

The historical Blennerhassett Hotel will once again this year will display the Festival of Trees although this year it will be sponsored by The United Way along with the Blennerhassett Hotel instead of Easter Seals. Wayne Waldeck and Lee Rector , the new owners of the hotel graciously agreed to keep up the tradition of the Festival of Trees.

Stacy DeCicco, executive director of United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley announced “we have seen so many things have to go by the wayside during this most challenging year. When the Blennerhassett approached us and shared that the festival of trees had lost their champion organization on very short notice, they asked if we could step in and carry on the event. While it is a daunting task to step in at the very last moment, we have been surrounded by amazing collaborations and cheerleaders. We are humbled that Wayne and Lee had the confidence in our organization to carry on the beautiful tradition in the historic Blennerhassett Hotel. We are looking forward to forging new traditions and a partnership that will last for many, many holiday seasons to come.”

For many years the Festival of Trees has become one of the major and most attended Christmas attractions in the Mid-Ohio Valley. It would have been a big disappointment not being able to take a spin downtown to see all the beautiful decorated trees that our local decorators have once again created. Various decorators take great pride and honor to present their favorite master piece.

I have personally been decorating trees for the Festival of Trees for 31 years and this year I received a call from Lee Rector asking me if I would consider decorating at least one Christmas tree for the event. Usually I enter between four and six different theme trees each year, but due to the virus I am trying to follow guidelines recommended for us.

There will be several changes due to COVID-19, but still “the show goes on!”

The festival of trees display will open on Friday, November 20th and will be on display through Dec. 10 the day of the auction

The auction will be a hybrid live streamed event.

Tickets can be purchased by going to uwamov.com, starting this weekend.

All COVID-19 protocols and distance requirements will be in place during all events, as they are for all events and functions held at the Blennerhassett Hotel.

United Way serves 10 counties, including Wood and Washington Counties.

Last year we supported more than 85 agencies and programs in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

The money raised by the United Way stays in our community and supports our neighbors and friends.

The United Way has funding priorities in health, income stability and education. We fund programs from food pantries to domestic violence shelters, summer reading programs that support individuals with disabilities and lots of things in-between.

Please make it a point again this year to visit all the beautiful display of trees.

You still have time to order your beautiful Christmas poinsettias from the West Virginia Symphony League-Parkersburg by calling Becky at 304 481-6909 or Kiki 304 615-5454 or any League member. All proceeds go to the symphony to bring good music and educate our students in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Till next week.

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Macadamia Nut Pie

1 (9 inch) pie shell, unbaked

3 or 4 small eggs

2/3 cups minus 1 tablespoon of sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 and 1/2 cups chopped macadamia nuts

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped cream (optional)

Prepare unbaked pie shell. Beat eggs with sugar. Add corn syrup and next three ingredients. Blend well. Pour into pie shell and bake on bottom rack at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes. Serve with whipped cream if desired. May be prepared a day ahead. Freezes well after cooking serves six to eight.

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Pumpkin Pie with Praline Topping

1 (9 inch) pie shell, unbaked

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 cup margarine, softened

1 and 1/2 cups canned pumpkin

1/2 cup unsulphered molasses

3 eggs

1 cup evaporated milk

Topping:

2 tablespoons margarine

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

Prepare unbaked pie shell. Mix sugar, flour and spices. Blend in margarine, pumpkin and molasses. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until tip of knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

Topping: Stir margarine and sugar in small skillet over medium heat until bubbly. Add pecans and cook two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour onto foil. Cool. Crumble into small pieces. Spoon whipped cream over cooled pie. Sprinkle topping over whipped cream served cold. Serves six to eight.

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Mile-High Raspberry Pie

1 (9 and 1/2 inch) pie shell, unbaked

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries, thawed

3 egg whites

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Prepare unbaked pie shell and press almonds into it. Bake until golden brown at 450 degrees, about 10 to 12 minutes. Mix raspberries, egg whites, lemon juice, sugar and almond extract and beat until very stiff. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into pie shell and freeze at least five hours. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving. Serves 10 to 12.

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