Craig Senior Citizens win first place at the 2016 Festival of Trees | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Senior Citizens win first place at the 2016 Festival of Trees

Seven people — five elected officials and two from Youth United Way — had the difficult task of deciding on the 2016 best decorated trees. Pictured: seated is Mayor and County Commissioner-elect Ray Beck, standing from left to right are Moffat County Judge Sandra Gardner and Moffat County Treasurer Linda Peters.





Seven people — five elected officials and two from Youth United Way — had the difficult task of deciding on the 2016 best decorated trees. Pictured: seated is Mayor and County Commissioner-elect Ray Beck, standing from left to right are Moffat County Judge Sandra Gardner and Moffat County Treasurer Linda Peters.
Sasha Nelson

— Old-Fashioned Christmas was the theme of this year's Festival of Trees and Craig Senior Citizens won first place for their "drink me tree."

The tree was hung with old-fashioned drink recipes, fruit garnish, ice cubes, mini bottles of rye and bourbon all toped with a bottle of Jim Beam.

The festival is a gift to the community from Moffat County Youth United Way, Moffat County High School Key Club members, Moffat County and the City of Craig, said Lila Herod, festival committee member and Moffat County clerk and recorder.

A nine-person committee meets each month of the year to plan the celebration and choose the theme. Area nonprofits then compete for grant dollars by decorating trees to match the theme.

"I appreciate how the themes fit the agency," said Moffat County Judge Sandra Gardner, also a judge for the event.

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This year, 28 trees decorate the foyer and halls of Moffat County Courthouse where trees may be viewed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, through Jan. 5.

The festival committee is also holding a fun day from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday featuring hayrides, live musical entertainment, a gourmet hot cocoa bar, visits with Santa, prize drawings and more.

This is the fifth year the event had been held in the courthouse with participation down from 39 trees on display in 2015, but up from the 21 trees decorated five years ago.

"There are some very pretty ones. It was a tough category," said Festival of Trees Committee Member Tori Pingley.

Nonprofit organizations created 23 of the trees and are eligible to win grant dollars provided by the United Way Human Resource Council.

A panel of seven judges worked to select the winners.

"This is a great community event. The staff at the Moffat County Courthouse do an amazing job. There isn't a bad tree out there," said Craig Mayor and Moffat County Commissioner-Elect Ray Beck, who helped pick the winning trees.

New this year, more awards were given.

"We used to have four prizes and this year we have six, as we know anyone who enters has put a lot of time and effort into the trees, and we want to show we appreciate it," said Moffat County United Way Executive Director Amanda Arnold, who is also a member of the festival committee.

One prize remains to be awarded — People's Choice.

To vote for People's Choice, stop by the clerk and recorder's office for a gold coin; one vote per person per day.

Coins should be placed in the box corresponding to a favorite tree. The tree with the most coins by Jan. 5 will win.

"All of the organizations put in a lot of hard work including handmade ornaments that took a lot of time and care. We'd love to see the public come out and show support for the hard work," Pingley said.

At the end of the festival, the display is disassembled until next year.

"Agencies remove trees by Jan. 10 and keep them to set them up for next year," Herod said. "If someone really likes a tree, they may contact the agency to see if sale might be possible."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

Winners

Seven judges decided the winners through a popular vote tabulated by the Moffat County elections office.

First place: Craig Senior Citizens

Second place: Connections 4 Kids

Third place: Northwest Chapter of Parrotheads

Fourth place: Craig Chamber of Commerce and Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership

Fifth place: Advocates Crisis Support Services

Sixth place: Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center

Festival of Trees 2016 Committee Members included:

Lila Herod

Amanda Arnold

Renee Campbell

Shannon Moore

Tori Pingley

Chuck Grobe

Joe Bird

Corrie Ponikvar, chair