Moffat County United Way hosts Festival of Trees events |

Moffat County United Way hosts Festival of Trees events

Noelle Leavitt Riley
The Moffat County Youth United Way's Festival of Trees was held at the Moffat County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon. Dozens of local businesses and agencies decorated Christmas trees following the theme of Christmas movies, and their work was judged by prominent members of the Craig community, including Moffat County Commissioners Chuck Grobe and Tom Mathers. The Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Colorado's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"-themed tree took first place in the contest.
Nate Waggenspack

— One of the best ways to bring joy to the holidays is with a brightly lit Christmas tree.

Such joy is exuberated at the Festival of Trees now on display at the Moffat County Courthouse, where 32 beautifully decorated trees line the halls.

To further expose the colorful exhibition, United Way is hosting events Saturday and Dec. 19 where the community is invited to enjoy the Christmas trees, a hot cocoa bar and live music.

“This is our gift to the community for supporting our nonprofit agencies throughout the year,” said Corrie Ponikvar, executive director of Moffat County United Way.

For tree submissions, United Way sent out an email to all the nonprofits in the community to see if they wanted to put up a tree.

The Saturday event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Moffat County School District Band Director John Bolton will perform with a variety of local musicians.

The theme for this year’s Festival of Trees is “Christmas Movies.” It’s the second year of the festival, and influential community members — including Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe, Craig Daily Press General Manager Renee Campbell and Craig City Council member Joe Bird — already voted on their favorite trees.

“I think it’s an awesome event,” Bird said. “From the people to the entries, you can just tell that they’ve taken pride in what they want to present. It represents the season very well. I just think it’s great.”

It was their votes that ultimately chose the best trees. The community vote is more for fun, giving spectators an opportunity to weigh in on their favorite trees.

The tree entered by the Boys & Girls Club of Craig — themed after “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” — won first place, which was a $500 award.

Second place went to the Connections 4 Kids tree, modeled after “A Christmas Story.” That received a $300 prize. The Budget Center took third place at $200, and Freedom Hooves took fourth place, receiving $100.

The reason for the tree display is simple: It’s a way for United Way, the Youth United Way and the Key Club to give back to the community.

“I’ve been doing this job for a really long time. This community is so generous. They come out in droves when we have fires or when an agency needs support,” Ponikvar said.

The Dec. 19 event will be held from 5 to 7 p.m.

Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or

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