By MIKE FERGUSONandgt;
Of the Baker City Herald
Zane Lockwood says its safe to call Fridays gala event the first annual Festival of Trees.
After all, you cant have a first annual anything until its a near certainty that youre going to hold the event again next year.
Judging from the many compliments he received and the sackful of money the inaugural event raised for the new helical scanner at St. Elizabeths Health Services next years festival is already in the bag.
In fact, its in the planning stages.
Everybody I talked to thought it was a great way to start off the holiday season, said Lockwood, co-chair of the event. People were excited to get the chance to dress up and have a good time. This (years success) definitely means well have a second annual festival. In fact, weve got a planning meeting set for next week, and already were discussing how to make it better next year.
That will be a tall order. This years festival, at which 19 Christmas trees and 19 wreaths were auctioned, raised about $30,000, Lockwood said.
The 425 ticket holders enjoyed valet parking by tuxedo-clad high school students, coat check service provided by students in formal gowns, live music, and food catered by hospital staff.
The food was fabulous, Lockwood said, adding, with a laugh, there are a lot of people who will be checking into the hospital after (Friday) night, just to sample the food.
At least one event-goer said Baker Citys festival was better than a similar but much larger event held last month in Boise.
I just thought the festivals warmth was great, and the trees were every bit as good, said Jeanie Wright of Baker City. The floor (on the second story of the Oregon Trail Regional Museum) reflects the bright lights, and this (festival) wasnt nearly as crowded.
The real crowds came on Saturday, Lockwood said, when more than 1,000 people viewed the decorated trees and enjoyed both live music and a visit from Santa Claus.
Admission price to Saturdays Family Day was a can of food. So much food was donated, Lockwood said, that more than half a ton of food will be delivered to the Salvation Army.
Ten of the festivals professionally-decorated trees, which were delivered to the high bidders Sunday, were sold during a live auction Friday, while the wreaths and the nine other trees were sold by silent auction. The auction alone raised about $24,500, Lockwood said.
But far from placing the emphasis on raising money or even on a night of fun, Lockwood said that the most important result of the first festival is the message that the event sent to Catholic Health Initiatives, St. Elizabeths parent company. The unmistakable signal, he said, is that the hospitals foundation can accomplish its goal of raising $1 million over the next two years.
If that goal is met, CHI has agreed to invest between $6 million and $7 million in the Baker City hospital, to remodel the medical/surgical wing and re-do the birthing room, among other projects, according to hospital spokeswoman Denise Van Artsdalen.
Lockwood had special praise for the 21 other people who worked on the festivals steering committee, and he noted that the event just would not have happened without the hard work of about 90 volunteers who made the first festival so easy for us.
As far as Im concerned, I had the easy job, he said.
Festival organizers would not say how much was paid for each tree, but they did announce who purchased each of the 19 trees.
TREES, SPONSORS, DECORATORS AND PURCHASERS
Lets Have Smore Christmas, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. James Davis and Powder River Motors, decorated by Kelly Barfuss and Chrissanne Hindman, purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Dean Guyer; A Carousel Christmas, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Steven DeLashmutt and Klamath First Bank, decorated by Baker City Floral (Jeanne Schroeder, Denise Ellson, Joy Kuck, Richelle Kekelis, purchased by Nancy Gidding and Sherron Dennis; Grandmas Gingerbread House, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Charles Hofmann and Sackos Excavating, decorated by The Prairie Flower (Kay Grooms), purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Robby Porter.
Also, Christmas In the Garden, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. David Richards and the Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative, decorated by Paula Dobbel, Judy Lazdauskas and Wendy Munkers, purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Bob Borders; Joy to the World, sponsored by Dr. Laurence Levinger and Phillips-Long Ford, decorated by Calvary Baptist Womens Ministry (Ruth Severson, Kathy Niswender, Debbie Lockwood and Kris Barr), purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Smith; Way Out West, sponsored by Triple C Redi-Mix and Clarke andamp; Clarke Insurance, decorated by Patti Vanderwiele, Mary Ellen Daugherty, Terri Bell and Linda Perry, purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Gary Holman.
Also, The Winter Sports Enthusiasts Dream Come True, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Eric Sandefur and Pandamp;E Distributing, decorated by Kristy Sandefur, purchased by Chuck Sellier; School Days, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Michael Rushton and The Carpet Guys, decorated by Terri Axness, Carole Brewster, Norma Nemec, Jan Phillips and Ann Rowan, purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Town; O Holy Night, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Jon Schott and Bank of America, decorated by Dawn Schott and Gloria Schott, purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Randy Dodson.
Also, This Tree is for the Birds, sponsored by Pioneer Bank and Marvin Wood Products, decorated by the employees of Pioneer Bank, purchased by Pioneer Bank and Elaine Kohman; A Hunters Dream, sponsored by Baker Vision Clinic and Baker Garage, Inc., decorated by Dr. Sheryl Blankenship, Dr. Leslie Elms, Faith Ekman, Tonna Haw, Shiela Dolby, Sharon Karman, Yvonne Illingsworth and Michael Hendon, purchased by Julie Magnuson; Let It Snow! sponsored by Britt Sand andamp; Gravel, decorated by Karen Logan, Diana Thatcher, Loetta Thatcher and Stephanie Adams, purchased by Chuck Sellier.
Also, Christmas in Toyland, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. John Perushek and U.S. Bank, decorated by Soroptimist International of Baker County, purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Terry Schumacher; A Jolly Campin Christmas, sponsored by Best Western Sunridge Inn, decorated by Lisa Shira, Judy Lazdauskas and April Elder, purchased by Dr. Barbara Tylka; The Great Outdoors, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Gary DeVos and Steve Farstad Construction, Inc., decorated by Lynn Farstad, Judy Morrissey, Valee Gray, Kinda Hatfield and Jamie Morrissey, purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Town.
Also, Fishing for the Perfect Gift, sponsored by Dr. Barbara Tylka and Baker Sanitary Service, decorated by Sue Henry, purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Eric Sandefur; Roses, Ribbons and Lace, sponsored by Don and Janet Hannah, decorated by Betty Spooner and Laurie McAdams, purchased by Chuck Sellier; South of the Border, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Lauren Swartz and Bank of America, decorated by Molly Wilson and LeeAnn Haberle, purchased by Mr. and Mrs. John Wilson; and Cowboy Christmas, sponsored Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Eastern Oregon, decorated by Lady Elks Lodge 338 (Shirley McPheron, Bonnie Gill, Jo Hinrichson, Nancy Berdahl, Janet Schomberg, Edie Nelson and Vickie Sumner), purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Randy Daugherty.