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Decorate for charity: Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees taking place at SEAPARC Leisure centre

Different local businesses decorated Christmas trees in support of the BC Children’s Hospital on Nov. 30 at the Sooke Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Complex (SEAPARC).

The event marked the fourth annual Festival of Trees in Sooke, which saw 13 trees sponsored and decorated by local non-profits, private businesses and families.

According to Elizabeth Olsen, event co-ordinator, the trees were sponsored at $250 each.

“When you sponsor a tree you get a tree and you get all the lights… so all the companies have to do is come in and bring in their decorations and decorate,” she said.

Local residents can drop by anytime between Nov. 30 and Jan. 4 to donate and cast a ballot towards their favourite tree.

All proceeds will be given to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“We have little ballot envelopes and what they do is they just check off what their favourite tree is and put a donation into the envelope and return it into the centre,” Olsen said.

“It’s a great event just in terms of how much the BC Children Hospital helps families here in Sooke.”

In 2011, 2,400 children from Vancouver Island used the hospital’s facilities, of whom 199 were from Sooke.

Last year, the event had trees at SEAPARC and the Prestige Oceanfront Resort. A total of $5,700 was raised.

“A couple of our trees last year could’ve put the trees downtown to shame. People go all out, but definitely, there’s been some amazing trees,” Olsen said.

Throughout the evening, judges, Mayor Wendal Milne, Dave Evans from the Stick, dressed as alter-ego Paprika Maple, and Mary Brooke ranked the trees in first, second and third place for best decorated tree.

The Sooke Monterossi was crowned first, the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce earned second, and the Sooke Legion was given third.

Recognition will also be given to the tree that raises the most money at a later date.

The event also took place in Vancouver, Port Alberni, and Victoria at the Fairmont Empress hotel.

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