WEYBURN – The 2022 Festival of Trees raised a total of $46,868 for the Family Place after everything was tallied from Thursday, including funds from the auction of decorated Christmas trees, 106 items in the silent auction, donations and raffle tickets.
The Festival had 24 trees on display at Great Plains Ford, and these fetched a total of $27,050, the silent auction raised $16,208, and the sale of angels in memoriam of loved ones raised $295, with $615 for the raffle of blow-ups.
This year’s total edged out last year’s total of $46,027, and the total of $30,231 from 2020. The highest total remains from 2016, when the fundraiser brought in $65,679.
“The last two weeks have been absolutely amazing. We loved everything about Festival of Trees 2022,” said Dawn Gutzke, executive director for the Family Place.
“Watching everyone who donated and set up their trees was so wonderful. They all took so much time and care for all their trees, each and every one were so special and beautiful!,” she added, noting the silent auction brought in its highest total to date with 106 donated items for sale.
“We also a very large amount of people bidding this year too, we can't thank everyone enough for participating. The tree auction was so exciting to watch all day. We had lots of returning bidders that continue to support us year after year and we had some new ones pop in too,” said Gutzke of the auction, which was done online.
She also paid tribute to their hosts for this year’s fundraiser.
“Great Plains Ford and all their staff were just awesome to us. They helped us every step of the way, from setting up, to cheering us on through the auction, donating silent auction items, donating a beautiful tree, buying silent auction and trees, buying cookies for all the children that came to Festival and they set up a hot chocolate bar. Right to the clean up, they were right beside us.”
The 50/50 winner was Dennis Popowitz for $225.50, and he donated it back to the Family Place.
Tree No. 3, donated by Great Plains Ford, was bought by them for $2,025 and was donated back to re-auction. The next bidder was Jeff Tosczak, and he bid $2,300 on the tree for the Weyburn Dodge dealership, making this the highest bid of the night.
A number of others also donated their trees back to the Family Place in the auction.
Darren Boren donated both his trees back, Minard's Leisure World bought five trees and donated the Miller's Movie Theatre tree back to Family Place, and Great Plains Ford donated the ladder tree back as well.
In addition, Meghan Patzer donated her tree back to the organization that put it in, the Southeast Newcomers and Settlement Workers in School (SWIS), for them to give to one of their newcomer families.
The Weyburn Comp Tree received an anonymous top-up bid of $1,000 from a community member, over and above the bid of $550 for the tree itself.
“They were so impressed with the youth of the Comp to create a tree on such a deep life topic and making an impact for our community,” said Gutzke.
The favourite tree winner was a tie between Weyburn Credit Union and CIBC.
The favourite silent auction item was the handmade wooden birdhouse by Dennis LeClair.
Annugas Compression donated $950 for a tree they bid on, No. 22, but didn't get it at the last minute.