Festival of Trees

Casino Royale is the theme of the 2019 Festival of Trees to be held Sunday through Nov. 23 at the Defiance Eagles Aerie, 771 Second St.

This is the 10th year for the Defiance Area YMCA signature fundraiser, and the 21st year for the Festival of Trees to be held in Defiance. The State Bank is this year’s presenting sponsor.

Alicia Holbrook, marketing and membership director of the YMCA, is excited for the week of events which offers something for all ages.

The magic begins on Sunday when the trees are decorated from 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. For many groups and families, it has become a tradition to kick off the Christmas season by decorating a tree for the auction. Trees and decorations will be provided, but participants are more than welcome to bring in things of their own.

“It is a festive time with the Christmas music playing, and everyone helping each other. It really encourages the spirit of Christmas giving. It is a lot of fun,” Holbrook said. “If you have a flare for crafting and decorating or just plain love Christmas, stop in and help us deck the hall.”

Tuesday is the tree-lighting ceremony from 5:30-8 p.m. hosted by the YMCA, Brookview Healthcare Center and the Gardens of Paulding. Choirs from around the area will perform. There also will be a boutique for shopping, a visit with Santa, cookies and refreshments provided by Biggby Coffee. Though this is a free event, monetary or nonperishable food donations will be accepted.

Reservations are needed for Wednesday’s Keith Hubbard Business Luncheon to be held from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Featured speaker will be Defiance City Schools superintendent Bob Morton focusing on the 5 C’s of positive youth development. Reservations are $25 per person.

On Wednesday evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. there will be a special performance by Sarah and Jeff Tackett and their band Powell Creek Junction. It is hosted by the YMCA and Xperience Church. During the performance, there will be Christmas story readings by children.

This is a freewill offering event with monetary donations or nonperishable food items accepted. There will be cookies and Biggby coffee provided. Concert goers also can walk through the decorated trees and visit the boutique.

The senior luncheon will be held on Thursday hosted by the Defiance YMCA and Laurels Health Care. The cost is $5 per person or a bag of nonperishable grocery items. Event goers can choose from two lunch times: early bird lunch from 10:30 a.m.-noon or prime time lunch from 12:15-1:45 p.m. Reservations may be made by calling Cathy Meek at Laurels of Defiance at 419-782-7879.

The seniors will have a chance to visit with Santa, shop the boutique, browse through the trees or just enjoy a nice lunch with friends.

A business after hours is set for Thursday from 5-7:30 p.m. Admission is free and there is a cash bar. There will be food, drinks, networking and giveaways.

Also planned for Thursday is ladies night from 5:30-8 p.m., hosted by the YMCA and Midwest Community Federal Credit Union. A reservation is required at a cost of $25 per person.

Holbrook is excited for this newly restructured event featuring a fiesta complete with a taco bar from Rusty Taco and margaritas. There also will be tip boards and raffles for designer purses.

Friday is the Casino Royale: Gala and Live Auction hosted by the YMCA, First Federal Bank of the Midwest, Shultz Huber and Associates Inc. and Keller Trucking. It will feature tables for roulette, poker, craps and blackjack.

Holbrook encourages everyone to, “come dressed to the nines and bring your friends so we can all end up with a full house.”

The cocktail hour starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner and the live auction. The first card will be dealt at 8:30 p.m. Reservations are required, seats are $60 per person.

Saturday, Cocoa with Santa begins the day from 9 a.m.-noon with children through age 10 welcome. There will be cocoa provided by Biggby Coffee, and Santa will have a gift for everyone. There also will be crafts, photos, games and snacks.

There are two sessions: 9-10:30 a.m. and 10:30-noon. The cost for each child is $10.

The Neverland Dessert Party is from 1-3 p.m. hosted by the YMCA and Art Me Ohio Face Paint Princess Parties and More. Eric’s Ice Cream Factory will be providing the ice cream for the dessert bar. Then ArtMe will be providing a little pixie dusting with face painting. There will be crafts, games, photos and even a chance to chat with Tinkerbell and Capt. Hook. A parent must attend with a child and the cost for both is $25, any additional adult or child is $10.

Registration forms for both children’s events and information on availability can be found at the Defiance Area YMCA front desk.

For the grown-ups, a beer and wine tasting will be hosted Saturday by the YMCA and City Beverage from 5-8 p.m. This event wraps up the week of festivities. The cost is $30 per person for 10 tickets to taste several options of wine and beer. Hors d’oeuvres will be provided by Dinner by Design. The silent auction held during the week will be concluded at this event.

Unless otherwise noted, reservations and information for all events can be made by calling 419-784-4747.

The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Funds raised at the annual Festival of Trees help to fulfill that mission.

“This is an amazing event and helps so many families. I enjoy being a part of it in every way,” Holbrook commented.

Of course, the event itself raises funds for YMCA programs overall. During the live auction, bidders have opportunity to help families in a more direct way. They have a chance to bid on a package that will provide one year of YMCA memberships to a family, plus enrollment in fun nights and other special activities for the children. Seven families received packages last year.

Holbrook is appreciative of the giving community — sponsors, volunteers, and attendees — that continues to make this possible.

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