Halls decked for holiday festival
November 27, 2012
Volunteers wrapped presents, decorated trees and cleaned Santa Claus’ gilded chair Tuesday at the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa convention center in anticipation of the fourth annual Festival of Trees and Lights. The Barton Foundation festival, which offers a variety of family-friendly festivities, started in 2009 to raise money for the Barton Community Clinic. The foundation had previously hosted Christmas events in South Lake Tahoe, but they’d lacked a cause, Executive Director Kindle Craig said. Craig, who took over leadership of the Barton Foundation in 2008, said she wanted to create an event for the families in the community and the Festival of Trees and Lights was born. “I have kids so I wanted something they could come to during the holidays. It’s a place where we can all come celebrate together. There isn’t anything else for families and their kids to enjoy,” Craig said. Activities begin Thursday at 10 a.m. with a free senior stroll and a public viewing of the displays in the convention center. Those displays include 12 decorated designer trees created by South Shore businesses. “I love it. We’re really getting more creative each year, and I already have ideas that I’m thinking about for next year,” Thran’s Flowers manager Katie Long said as she hung lights from a white bower. Long, who has participated in the festival each year since 2009, designed a shimmering gold and silver light tree as part of her display. The trees, some of which are paired with vacations, will be auctioned off during the event along with other baskets and gifts. The event continues through Sunday, with daily public viewing opportunities, a family movie night featuring “The Polar Express,” a Teddy Bear breakfast and the black tie-optional Gala Saturday night. Proceeds from the four-day Festival of Trees and Lights will benefit Barton Memorial Hospital’s effort to establish itself as a Level III Trauma Center, a new designation that would allow the hospital to evaluate, assess and treat many people who are currently flown to trauma centers like Renown Health.