Last Updated on November 11, 2021 12:08 pm
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with more than 30 trees displayed across the High Country as part of the Western Youth Network (WYN) annual Festival of Trees.
The trees are decorated by designers, retailers, High Country businesses and individuals — and displayed at public locations in West Jefferson, Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk and the Linville area Decorated trees, some with extra gifts and gift certificates, will be sold on an online auction which opens Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 12pm.
A selection of festive holiday wreaths, most of which will be on display at the Watauga County Recreation Center will be added to the auction on Nov. 30.
The auction runs through Thursday, Dec. 2 at 8pm, when it will close during a livestreamed telethon, sponsored by the Leslie Eason Real Estate Team with Keller Williams. The telethon — hosted by festival committee member Stacey Gibson and WYN Advisory Board Member and App Regional Healthcare System CEO Chuck Mantooth — will feature local holiday entertainment, contests and prizes.
This is the seventh year for the festival, which last year raised over $60,000 for WYN, a non-profit agency that provides programs for children and adolescents in order to build a better future and stronger community for the High Country.
Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival moved from a centralized location to a new format with trees set up in multiple public establishments in the area.
“Displaying trees in the community gave us the opportunity to introduce more people to the mission of WYN,” said Jennifer Warren, executive director of WYN. “It was a way to grow the program and extend our reach into some of the additional counties we serve.”
Warren said she has seen the needs of area youth increase, particularly during the pandemic. The annual Festival of Trees fundraiser provides necessary funds for helping children, plus educates the community about ways to support WYN — including opportunities to volunteer as mentors to the children.
“Also, it’s a great way to spread holiday cheer,” Warren added. “The trees are always beautiful and very creative. They make people smile.”
The festival includes online contests, a wreath-making workshop, a hot chocolate social and telethon viewing parties. For more information, visit wynfestivaloftrees.com.
Link to the Festival of Trees map of tree displays: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1yVYgvH3_K9_NjMZJ2YVDLps6bdmUkJXS&usp=sharing
Photos (sample of trees from last year’s festival):
One of the trees from last year’s WYN Festival of Trees, decorated by 4 Forty Four Interior Designs and on display at The Inn at Ragged Gardens in Blowing Rock. The design team plans another entry in this year’s festival, at the same location. The tree will be one of 30 on display throughout the High Country, available for viewing and purchase through an online auction to benefit Western Youth Network.
LifeStore Bank included a collection of gifts and adventures in their WYN Festival of Trees entry in 2020. This year, the tree displayed in the LifeStore lobby will have a camping theme, and will be one of more than 30 trees on display in the community, available for viewing and purchase through an online auction to benefit Western Youth Network.
Mast General Store has supported the Western Youth Network (WYN) Festival of Trees each year. In 2020, this tabletop tree was on display in the Boone location. This year, Mast General Store will feature another small tree with gifts for the whole family, available for viewing an purchase through an online auction benefitting WYN.
During the 2020 WYN Festival of Trees, The Mustard Seed in Blowing Rock decorated a live tree with ornaments from their gift shop. This year’s festival will also feature an entry at The Mustard Seed, available for viewing and purchase through an online auction benefitting Western Youth Network.