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Raymond's Festival of Trees


First Raymond Festival of Trees Runs Dec. 10-12
By Penny Williams 12-9-15

The organizers of the first Raymond Festival of Trees were looking for a way to make Christmas a happy day for community children. To that end the Collaborative Business Connection (CBC) teamed up with the Masons and Rockingham County Community Action to achieve their goal.

The call went out to businesses, organizations and individuals to donate a decorated tree that would showcase creative design, support the community and draw attention to the donor while making lots of children's Christmases a happy one.

The decorated trees will be on display at the Tucker Masonic Lodge, 64A Main St., behind the Longbranch, Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 10 through 12. The display, along with Santa Claus, runs from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. On Saturday morning, Dec. 12, a Breakfast with Santa is offered from 8 to 11 a.m., sponsored by the Masons at the Tucker Lodge.

After the close of the Festival of Trees, Raymond's Christmas on the Common celebration will begin at 5 p.m.

People are invited to buy raffle tickets and put them in the container in front of the tree they would like to win. Festival of Trees organizers are also running a cap and mittens campaign, and anyone bringing in mittens or a cap will receive five free raffle tickets.

All trees, wreaths, decorations and gifts beneath the tree are considered donations to the Raymond Festival of Trees and will be raffled with the tree. Trees will have a tree skirt, topper and lights, and won't exceed 10 feet in height. All edible items and other gifts underneath the trees will be wrapped.

The CBC notes this is a great opportunity to do something good for the community while bringing attention to businesses or organizations. All money raised by the sale of raffle tickets will be used to purchase gifts for Raymond children.

The Rockingham County Community Action will provide children's names and lists of gifts needed by each child. The Festival of Trees will purchase one special gift for each child and three additional gifts that meet each child's specific needs. For each $50 raised, a child's name will be provided, so the more money raised, the more children can benefit.

Judy Maynard, organizer of this Raymond Festival of Trees, said they already have about 21 decorated trees confirmed. She said this will probably be the final number this year because they are limited by the space available at the Tucker Lodge and need to ensure Santa Claus has enough room to visit with children.

The raffle winners will be selected at the end of the viewing on Saturday at 5 p.m.

"We have enough raffle tickets to make $10,000," Maynard said. "We have the outside skating rink set up with lighting and we hope the weather will cooperate so it can be used. We are hopeful that hundreds of people in the community will come by and buy a raffle ticket and support this wonderful cause."

The trees have a wide variety of themes and were donated by WJ Stewart Ins. Edward Jones, Dec Tech Flooring, Pawtuckaway Pet, Angeline's Salon, EXCEL Physical Therapy, Cork N' Keg Grill, Bemis Construction, Ace Ben Franklin, American Legion Post 90, Jamb's Jewelry, Mason's Tucker Lodge, People's Bank, Deerfield Co-Op Pre-School, New Life Church, Raymond Area News, Ellen Merry Real Estate, Smooth Transitions Massage, Rydell Family and Proforma TSL Associates.

Tickets are $10 for 24 and $20 for 48. Bring mittens and a hat for 5 free tickets.

The Festival is expected to become an annual event.

For more information, contact Judy Maynard at 231-8772.

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