Holiday season opens Friday with Mr. and Mrs. Claus

By: 
MIRIAM D. CAMPAN
Reporter
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Boys and Girls Club Resource Development Director Abby Franks works with volunteer Shawn Briggs to wrap trees and gifts in preparation for moving them to the Trade Center.

Here’s something you don’t see every day: Star Wars-themed trees, including Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper.

This weekend the Boys and Girls Club annual holiday fundraising festivities begin. The good time starts Friday with A Nite with the Clauses, and culminates with the Festival of Trees.

The Trade Center at the fairgrounds opens its doors Friday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. for Nite with the Clauses, and the price of admission is a teddy bear. Nite with the Clauses replaces the Teddy Bear Tea of years past, and offers something for everyone, including “dads and grandpas,” according to Abby Franks, Boys and Girls Club resource development director. 

Although the Teddy Bear Tea provided cherished memories for mothers and daughters, a Nite with the Clauses offers more of a family experience, Franks said. Sponsored this year by the Central Montana Jaycees, activities include photos with Santa, refreshments including cookies, a Santa letter-writing station, and give-away gifts to take home.  

Spearheaded by a committee of Boys and Girls Club mothers, the teddy bears are collected and used to decorate a tree for auction the following night, Saturday, Dec. 1, during the Festival of Trees. Traditionally, the winning bidder of the “Teddy Bear Tree” has donated the bears to charities or provided them as giveaways.  One year Eddie’s Corner offered a teddy bear to younger restaurant goers who answered “yes” to the question, “Do you believe in Santa Claus?” 

On Saturday, Dec. 1, the activities continue with a preview of the trees featured in this year’s Festival of Trees. Thirty-five to 40 trees are available for preview at the Fergus Trade Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Trees decorated to look like Star War characters, traditional old-fashioned Christmas trees, the He Shed/She Shed entry and trees decorated to look like trains will be displayed and ready for auction.  

Franks said other items to be auctioned may include a 1950s TV repurposed to a liquor bar, custom-made fine jewelry and a photo shoot trip to Africa -- all available to the right bidder.

Trent Hess, a Boys and Girls Club volunteer, said of the event, “It is a community get-together and a really good time.”  

 “It’s amazing how people come together,” Franks added. “There’s so much bad in the world, but this annual event provides time to pause and reflect on so much good in our community.”

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