Community Resource EnVision Center new host of the Festival of Trees By Jillian Chandler
November 30 & December 2
2023 marks the inaugural year that Community Resource EnVision Center (CREC) will be hosting the beloved Festival of Trees; the tradition passed on to the organization by the Kinderhaven Foundation.
Katie Begalke, CREC’s newly appointed executive director, shares that they are looking forward to having a public platform that allows the EnVision Center to live its mission of empowering the entire community. “We want all of Bonner and Boundary counties to know that we exist to help their neighbor, employee, colleague or friend when they are facing a time of need by connecting, serving and supporting them with resources, collaboration and partnership—so that all may thrive.”
The Festival of Trees kicks off 4 to 7pm November 30 with its Friends & Family Night, a free event for the entire community. Guests will view the beautifully decorated trees, have pictures taken with Santa, enjoy cookies and cocoa, and vote on their favorite gingerbread creation.
“We are excited to be creating a new tradition this year. Fourth-grade classrooms across the school district will be given $50 to execute the design and construction of a gingerbread creation. Guests will vote on their favorite, and that creation will be auctioned off the night of the gala,” Katie shares. “We believe that by including children in the Festival of Trees, we are planting seeds in those who will carry our community’s philanthropic spirit into the future.”
The winning class will receive bragging rights, a pizza party, $200 cash for their classroom and 100 percent of the proceeds from the winning gingerbread creation to donate to the nonprofit of their choice!
December 2 is the big event, A Gilded Winter Wonderland, offering a chance for local folks to come together and learn about the needs in our community and respond while bidding on elaborate trees, enjoying a wonderful meal (catered by Ivano’s with drinks from Trinity at City Beach) and some holiday shopping at the Christmas Gift Shop.
“Think more European Christmas Market than silent auction,” shares Katie. “We’d love for our gala guests to use the Christmas Gift Shop as a place to do their holiday shopping and check off items from their Christmas shopping list, all while supporting CREC’s work in the community.”
She encourages community members to attend this “fun and festive evening filled with generosity that will leave guests with a glowing appreciation for their neighbors and for this extraordinary community!”
Tables of eight, priced $1,500, are on sale now through November 6, at which time individual tickets will become available for $125 each.
Outside of the 20 percent of each auctioned tree going to a nonprofit partner of the tree donor’s choice, the proceeds will be used to support the work of CREC. "When you support the Festival of Trees, your generosity empowers the entire community," Katie reminds.