Helping the community and celebrating the holidays will go hand-in-hand this weekend during the 16th annual Hermiston Festival of Trees.

Traditionally offered the first weekend in December, the two-day event will fill the Hermiston Conference Center with holiday happenings for adults and children while raising money for the community.

All proceeds from the auctions will be split between Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation and the Hermiston Kiwanis Breakfast Club.

“All the funds we raise go directly back to the community through the projects these groups support,” Festival co-chairwoman Kathie Mallory said. “In the past the money from Good Shepherd Community Foundation has gone to Hermiston Education Foundation, Agape House, Open Table and the Hermiston Library.”

The festival begins at 6 p.m. Saturday evening, where guests will enjoy live and silent auctions, live holiday music, wine tasting and a tri-tip buffet dinner. Tickets for the Saturday event are $30 and can be purchased at Good Shepherd Medical Center, Head Start offices and the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce. Tables can also be reserved for groups of eight or more.

Auction items will include large — 6-7 foot-tall — and small — 3 feet-tall —decorated trees, wreaths, holiday stockings and four special gift-filled stockings: University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Washington State University and the University of Washington. Each of the 10 large trees is decorated with a theme, and this year, themes include: Merry Christ-moose, Cozy Vintage Nest, Polar Bear Express and Outdoor Christmas. Twelve table-top trees will also be decorated to themes.

Winning bidders may take home the smaller items on Saturday night. The large trees will stay at the Conference Center through Sunday’s event: Family Day. From noon to 4 p.m., Family Day festivities will include pictures with Santa, face painting, cookie and ornament decorating, letters to Santa and other crafts. Groups will perform every half hour, and local Boy Scouts will sell popcorn, drinks and hotdogs.

On both Saturday and Sunday, raffle tickets will be available for a tree decorated with a Toy Story 3 theme. The raffle will benefit Domestic Violence Services.

“We encourage people to come out and look around,” Mallory said. “It’s a festive time of year, and you never know when you could walk out with the perfect Christmas present.”

For more information, call Mallory at 541-561-4010 or fellow co-chairman Cameron Anderson at 541-567-5215.

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