Sunday, November 18, 2007

Festival of the Trees 2007

(Above: Alex and his girlfriend Erica in front of my Christmas tree inspired by my Blues Chapel artwork.)

Alex and I have been donating to the annual Children's Hospital charity event, Festival of the Trees, for six or more years. It is very special because Mathias had skull surgery when he was only six months old at Children's Hospital. He was released on Christmas Day. At the time, there were only four beds in ICU. Now there are 18. The event raised over $216,000 last, the gala is tie (expect for handsome teenagers!). St. Joseph's choir serenades guests into the event. There a mimes, harpist, two bands, excellent food and drinks, photo ops with Santa Claus, and plenty of wreathes and trees available by silent auction. The evening truly ushers in Christmas for us.

(Above: One of many food stations.)

(Above: Another food station...I took these pictures immediately upon arrival; we got there right on time. Later, I couldn't have taken most of these shots due to the crowd!)

(Above: Mimes decorating the center hallway.)

(Above: One of the bars)

(Above: One of the large rooms with Santa Claus and more trees.)

(Above: Shrimp and trees!)

(Above: Our Electric Company didn't want us to forget they created a "tree" of their logo!)

(Above: Draped tables with "table top" decorations...Alex's Blues inspired one is just visible. It sold for $130.)

(Above: This event is in our State, here's another bar under a Fiberglas replica of a giant, prehistoric shark.)

(Above: More shrimp in another room with dancing.)

(Above: The dance band...shortly after we arrived the crowds followed and there was hardly a view to the stage!)

(Above: Steve and my favorite food station....sushi!)

(Above: Details of trees.)

(Above: Most of the trees have very specific themes...this one deals with outdoor sports like boating and fishing.)

(Above: This was the strangest theme...Pirates of the Caribbean Christmas tree!)

(Above: Detail of the skirting for the Pirates of the Caribbean tree.)

(Above: One Thousand Villages is a free-trade chain with an outlet here in Columbia. They always donate a unique tree made from lots of gift certificates are included for other merchandise. In fact, many of the trees come with hundreds of dollars of gift certificates.)

(Above: A more traditional Christmas tree.)

By the end of the gala, my tree had a $250 bid...not bad. I valued it at $400...which is one of the least expensive ones in the event. Yet, I don't go out an solicit businesses for hundreds of dollars of gift certificates. I had 40 fiber ornaments valued at $10 each. The bidding actually stops on Sunday at 4 PM. People attending the gala can "guarantee" their bid at 75% (or thereabout) of the value. So, someone had to bid at least $300 at the gala in order purchase my tree. Alex's tabletop had a "gala take-home" price of $110. It sold that night for $130. Steve returned to the museum on Sunday to check the prices. Unfortunately, whoever bid that night had withdrawn their bid. My poor tree only had $100 on it. Steve bought back the tree for $125. Shadow, our cat, is thrilled to have it back in our living room. I'll likely sell the ornaments at the Artisan Center or something and reuse the tree and some of the ornaments again next year. It is a very good cause, a fabulous evening, and a tax deduction!

(Above: A winter wonderland Christmas tree.)

(Above: A Christmas tree constructed of grapevine wreathes.0

(Above: Only in South Carolina can one find silver palmetto trees for Christmas!)

(Above: Detail of the Chick-Filet Christmas tree skirt.)


Wanda said...

great pictures and I'm glad you got your own tree back!! The cat needs to be happy too. Yes, this is a part of your lives... I've always known about it because of you guys. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving. I worked. I was where I needed to be...making the lonely soldiers smile

Anonymous said...

I finally got to check this page out....fantastic trees...and the food stations look to die for (I want to dive into the shrimp!!). So great...Erica is a cutie, and Alex ain't too shabby either! Fun photos for a fun night! Thanks for sharing! ---Sonya (PS. Adorable little doggie, but of course LuLu is #1)!