The folks at LampLight Theatre are getting ready to deck the halls of MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport for the theater’s inaugural Festival of Trees silent auction fundraiser.
Beginning Nov. 17, the public can view and bid on nearly 80 decorated trees and holiday decor items — everything from wreaths, swags, topiaries and centerpieces to gingerbread houses, quilts and original art — on display throughout MeadowView through Nov. 29.
“Even if you don’t bid, it’s a nice family outing for the holiday season,” said Savanna Cress, LampLight Theatre’s events planner. “It’s something you can go do for free, it’s not going to cost you anything. Just like going to Bristol Motor Speedway and seeing the lights, you can come see the trees.”
Each tree — donated by local businesses, churches, civic groups and individuals — has a theme, and visitors will be able to vote for their favorites, with prizes for the winning designers in categories such as most creative and best all around.
“We’re having a Dr. Seuss-themed tree and a ‘Silent Night’ quilt,” Cress said.
LampLight will kick off the event with an open house at MeadowView from 2 to 5 p.m., Nov. 17. In addition to viewing the trees, visitors will enjoy live entertainment by LampLight performers and other local musicians as well as a visit from Ol’ Kris Kringle himself.
Bids on the trees and other holiday decor can be placed in person between 9 a.m and 7 p.m., daily at MeadowView and 24 hours a day online at www.billywayne.net/auction.pl beginning Nov. 17 and continuing through noon, Nov. 29. Winning bidders will be able to pick up their merchandise on Nov. 30.
Proceeds will benefit LampLight’s H.A.L.O. — “Hope and Love Outreach” — program for local at-risk and underprivileged students. The program provides free services to those children throughout the year, including a week of summer camp, backpacks and school supplies in the fall, and Christmas gifts for the students and their siblings along with a Christmas dinner box for their family, to be given out during LampLight’s Comfort and Joy Christmas Party on Dec. 7.
“We have about 200 kids who are involved as well as their siblings and families we try to provide for,” said LampLight founder Billy Wayne Arrington.
Funding for H.A.L.O.’s activities comes largely through donations and patrons who sponsor the participating students at a cost of $30 a month or $360 per year. Arrington hopes this year’s inaugural Festival of Trees will help LampLight cover the rest.
It’s not too late to donate a decorated tree or other holiday decor item: Entries will be accepted through Monday, Nov. 11.
“There are people who have donated trees and said we’re not decorators, so we will have a decorating team. That shouldn’t stop you from donating if you want to donate,” Arrington said. “And if people don’t want to do a tree and just want to donate directly to H.A.L.O., they’re welcome to do that as well. That still gives us two weeks then to take that money and purchase things for the kids.”
For more information about the Festival of Trees or the H.A.L.O. project, call LampLight at (423) 245-1551 or visit www.lamplighttheatre.com.