John Kelleher Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Shortly after 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Barb Fournier stood on the sidelines at the second annual Festival of Trees at the Great Northern Fairgrounds. The weeks of hard work by the volunteers fo the event, designed to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line, was beginning to pay off. The crowd, which filled the community room, was finishing up the food, while master of ceremonies/auctioneer Tony Vigliotti was telling jokes that drew mock pains of agony from the audience. Thirteen Christmas trees, decorated by various businesses and community groups, adorned with white lights, were on the sides of the room, while tables were laden gifts to be auctioned off. People were having a good time; money was pouring in for the Boys & Girls Club. One of the crowd-pleasers was a Hannah Montana blanket and pillow qui l ted by 10 -year -old Al lyson Ramsbacher, a Boys & Girls Club member, which brought in $55. One by one, the trees were auct i o n e d o f f . T h e B r e s n a n Communications tree, that included gifts of a computer and cordless phones, drew a lot of attention. Ooohs and aahs filled the room as other trees were shown off. Pam Hillery, past-president of he Boys & Girls Club board, lifted up the gifts for all to see. The First Presbyterian Church's tree won the People's Choice Award. As the auction wound down and the dance was set to begin, the organizers called the night a success. The money is being counted, and Results should be available this week. The good times had by all and the awareness the program brought to the Boys & Girls Club made the event a success. The community's willingness to support the club means a lot, Hillery said. "Much of the budget comes from state grants," Hillery said. "But government is ... government," she said. "The grants may not always be there." This is the most important thing I do in this community," Hillery said, praising the work of the club staff. Krista Solomon, executive d i r e c t o r o f t h e HEL P Committee and the Boys & Girls club, said the turnout "was an other indication of what this great community does to support the Boys & Girls Club." And Fournier praised the people who put in the hard work. There were 13 trees this year, three more than during he initial festival last year. And they were all finely decorated, she said. Fournier initiated the idea of the festival, after hearing of a similar program in Lewistown. She will step down as chair of the event and will leave the Boys & Girls Club board next year. Mary Jane Borlaug and Susan Somers will take over as cochairs.