Hayden tree fundraiser is Sunday | CraigDailyPress.com

Hayden tree fundraiser is Sunday

Organizers optimistic about raising money for local groups

If you go

What: Hayden Christmas Tree Festival

When: 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall

For more

To enter a wreath or centerpiece or submit an absentee bid, call Lori Laird at 970-846-0782 or Laurie Hallenbeck at 970-846-5259.

— Hayden Christmas Tree Fes­tival organizer Lori Laird said she hopes the annual fundraising event, in spite of the economic recession, is as successful as last year’s.

Laird, of the Friends of the Christmas Tree Festival group, said the 2009 event raised nearly $5,000 for local nonprofit groups. She said the Christmas Tree Festival is important to many of the local groups and organizations — from Steam­­boat Springs to Craig — that decorate trees, wreaths or centerpieces for auction.

“Especially in Hayden, we’re such a small town,” Laird said. “We’re very limited on fundraising opportunities that nonprofits have. It’s such a good annual event that we can count on to raise money for our groups.”

The Christmas Tree Festival is Sunday at the Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall. Doors open at 1 p.m., and the auction starts at 1:30 p.m.

The Friends of the Christmas Tree Festival is organizing the event for the fourth year after taking over for the Hayden Heritage Center Board of Di­­rectors, which ran the fundraiser for the previous 20 years.

Laird said 22 groups have committed to entering an item in this year’s Christmas Tree Festival. She said the group organizing the event will not accept any more tree entries but has room for wreaths and centerpieces.

For some local groups and organizations, the proceeds earned during the event go a long way.

“It just helps our entire operating budget in that we don’t have to get these funds somewhere else,” said Rebecca Wattles, president of the Hayden Heritage Center Board. “We feel like we can use this for any small thing that comes up in the museum instead of the small funds we get from our tax base. It’s discretionary funds.”

Wattles said the museum likely would use the proceeds from the sale of its “old-fashioned” tree with homemade decorations to pay for new displays.

Laird said other groups and organizations that have committed to entering a tree, wreath or centerpiece are: the Routt Coun­ty CattleWomen; Hayden arch­ery group; Hayden Girl Scout troops; Class Act Productions (Hayden School District’s play production group); Hayden Valley Elementary School’s Gift Festival; Ranch House 4-H; Goodtimes 4-H; Love INC, Hayden High School’s After-Prom Committee; The Haven Assisted Living Center; 4-H Teen Exchange; Winter Gardens Conservatory Scholarship Fund; two Hayden students attending a leadership conference; a local group and family, which both plan to donate the proceeds; and Lori Fournier, who is creating a scholarship fund in honor of her sister, Kimberly.

Organizers will accept absentee bids, Laird said. To bid or enter a wreath or centerpiece, call Laird at 970-846-0782 or Laurie Hallenbeck at 970-846-5259.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@steamboatpilot.com

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