Hol­i­day giv­ing

Fes­ti­val of Trees raises $9,000

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

If this year’s success is any in­di­ca­tion, the an­nual Fes­ti­val of Trees cel­e­bra­tion is go­ing to be a hol­i­day main­stay in Cov­ing­ton for years to come.

The silent auc­tion and raf­fle event, which was first held in 2010 be­fore tak­ing a hia­tus in 2011, raised more than $9,000 this year. The event’s or­ga­nizer pre­sented a check to the Mir­a­cle League of New­ton County this week; the money will go specif­i­cally to help pur­chase play­ground equip­ment at the Mir­a­cle League com­plex.

Lisa Con­ner, one of the or­ga­niz­ers, said her ini­tial goal was to sim­ply dou­ble the $2,500 worth of do­na­tions col­lected in 2010.

“The com­mu­nity was out­stand­ing in their do­na­tions,” Con­ner said. “It was a bless­ing…the re­sponse from the com­mu­nity was so over­whelm­ing, from the busi­nesses and groups, whether it was a tree, item,

gift card or gift cer­tifi­cate.” Groups do­nated 27 Christ­mas trees with var­i­ous themed dec­o­ra­tions, along with 100 other items, in­clud­ing wreaths, other dec­o­ra­tions and gift cards. Among the do­na­tions were a train do­nated by Sam Ram­sey, owner of Ram­sey’s Fur­ni­ture, and a boys and girls 20-inch bi­cy­cle from the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

Ta­mara Richard­son, con­sul­tant for the Mir­a­cle League, thanked Con­ner and fel­low or­ga­nizer Saba Tan­ner, of First Bap­tist Church, for all their ef­forts.

“They were the work­ers and the cre­ative ge­nius be­hind it all. We, ob­vi­ously, were thrilled to be se­lected as the ben­e­fi­ciary,” Richard­son said in an email.

Dawn Atha, Linda Hanna, Laura Ber­tram, La­trelle Cawthon and Kelli Hop­kins also do­nated much of their time along with Anita Still and Janet Long­hart of the re­cently-char­tered lo­cal Op­ti­mist Club. Con­ner said there were also sev­eral vol­un­teers from First Bap­tist and First United Methodist churches.

Richard­son also thanked Lee and Ken­dra May­field for al­low­ing the event to be hosted in the former May­field Hard­ware lo­ca­tion on the square.

New lo­ca­tion needed

How­ever, or­ga­niz­ers an­tic­i­pate and hope that the May­field’s lo­ca­tion will be leased out to a new ten­ant by next Christ­mas, which means the Fes­ti­val of Trees will be look­ing for a new lo­ca­tion in 2013.

Con­ner said the fes­ti­val really needs to find a per­ma­nent lo­ca­tion, so that it can start to build up a tra­di­tion by be­ing lo­cated in the same spot year af­ter year.

Any­one who has a lo­ca­tion for the event is in­vited to con­tact Con­ner at (678) 459-7752 or Anita Still at an­i­tastill@bell­south.net. Still is the pres­i­dent of the lo­cal Op­ti­mist Club, which will be tak­ing over the event’s or­ga­ni­za­tion in 2013.

In ad­di­tion, Con­ner is ask­ing for peo­ple to do­nate any new or gen­tly used Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions that they don’t want, which can be used in next year’s fes­ti­val raf­fle and silent auc­tion. The or­ga­niz­ers can take those items any­time.

Submitted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

Ta­mara Richard­son ac­cepts a check on be­half of the Mir­a­cle League of New­ton County. (From left) Saba Tan­ner, Anita Still, Lisa Con­ner, Janet Long­hart and Dawn Atha.

submitted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

Jim Dial poses in front of a Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia-themed tree with Lisa Con­ner, one of the or­ga­niz­ers of the event. Dial is a big Ge­or­gia fan.

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