2011 Festival of Trees

FESTIVAL: Thelma Brown checks out the holiday trees, wreaths and gift baskets that will be auctioned off during the annual Festival of Trees. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Chemical Bank in downtown Big Rapids, with the auction starting an hour later. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Mecosta County Medical Center Birthing Center project.

Annual event kicks off holiday season; reception and auction is Wednesday

BIG RAPIDS — Each November, the lobby at the Chemical Bank branch in downtown Big Rapids is turned into a winter wonderland of twinkling lights, glittering garland and opulent ornaments.

More than 50 items, including Christmas trees, wreaths and gift baskets, will be auctioned off during the annual Festival of Trees fundraiser. A reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the bank, with the auction starting at 7:30 p.m.

The annual festival and auction has raised more than $150,000 for the Mecosta County Medical Center Foundation’s projects and equipment purchases. Funds raised at the event will benefit the hospital’s Birthing Center project.

The festival and auction has marked the beginning of the holiday season in Big Rapids for eight years. All of the auction items are viewable in the bank lobby.

“The best part is the excitement leading up to the event,” said Gail Wyatt, organizing committee chair. “We set up a week prior so the public can view the trees and to see what they want to bid on. It really kicks off the holiday season and gets everybody excited.”

The festival is sponsored by Gary Trimarco Automotive, Chemical Bank, Currie/Parker Auction Services and Meijer of Big Rapids, with food provided by Ferris State University Catering. Attendees will enjoy refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.

Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at the door, as well as at Gary Trimarco Automotive, Chemical Bank, Patterson’s Flowers or by calling the Mecosta County Medical Center Foundation office at (231) 592-4280.

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