Belk Court at TownMall has been transformed into a forest of beautifully decorated Christmas trees for the 6th Annual Carroll County Festival of Trees to benefit Shepherd's Staff.
This year, 64 trees are up for auction. Each tree has its own unique theme, is hand decorated, and is sponsored, or donated, by residents and businesses throughout the county.
Sports themed trees are very popular in Carroll County this year. As of Wednesday afternoon, the tree with the highest bid was the "Ravens Tree" sponsored by the Lehigh Cement Company which had a bid of $1,000. Other high bid trees include the "Maryland Terps" tree, sponsored by Ronnie and Larry Bohn with a bid of $310 and the "Baltimore Oriole's" tree sponsored by Carl Zamerelli with a bid of $450.
There are plenty of trees that don't involve sports, including "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" sponsored by Carroll County Retired School Personnel and "Heroes Among Us" sponsored by Bladerunner.
Trees can be bid on until 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Winners will be called and must pick up trees on Sunday, Dec. 9 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The Festival of Trees benefits Shepherd's Staff, a Christian outreach and support center that has been helping citizens in need since 1989.The goal in creating Shepherd's Staff was to consolidate the efforts of area churches to avoid duplications of services. The organization does not receive federal, state or county funding.
Shepherd's Staff reports that in 2010, it supported:
- 1,456 households with emergency financial assistance.
- 1,102 students in the Back-to-School program.
- 1,813 individuals through the Call for Coats program.
- Over 4,000 individuals at The Shepherd's Table Soup Kitchen.
- 543 individuals with bath/laundry facilities.
Shepherd's Staff provides many other services and programs from its facility at 30 Carroll Street in Westminster.
Even if you don't bid on a tree, it's worth a trip to see them, and maybe even get some ideas for your own tree.
What is your favorite tree at this year's Festival of Trees? Did you bid on it? Tell us in the comments.