Festival of Trees organizers draw winners for trees, gift baskets

This year’s event, a fundraiser for the Grayling Promotional Association, proceeds with a few adjustments due to COVID-19 pandemic
The Grayling Promotional Association (GPA) drew winners for 57 trees and 33 gift baskets during the finale of the group’s Festival of Trees – an event that raises money for GPA community improvement efforts – at the Grayling Mini Mall on Sunday, November 29.
This year’s Festival of Trees ran from November 13 through November 28. The annual event gives people the opportunity to view and possibly win a decorated Christmas tree or gift basket. GPA provides the trees and local businesses and organizations decorate them with ornaments and prizes. Tree winners receive the tree and all decorations and prizes on it. Area businesses, groups, and individuals also provide gift baskets for the event.
Festival of Trees organizers drew the names of the winners on Sunday, November 29, during a private ceremony. Usually, the drawing is open to the public, but this year – due to the COVID-19 pandemic – GPA opted for a small crew to distribute the prizes, and instead of allowing the public inside, made the results available on the radio on WQON.
GPA adhered to a variety of safety protocols – including a limit on the number of people inside, sanitization efforts, social distancing, masking requirements, and a clear shield between ticket buyers and ticket sellers – during the two-week Festival of Trees event. Organizers notified the winners by telephone and staggered the pick-ups to avoid having a crowd gathered at the site.
Festival of Trees volunteers said this year’s event went well even with some of the limitations caused by the pandemic, including the loss of the usual Christmas Walk surge. Normally, the Christmas Walk – an event that features a parade and shopping activities in downtown Grayling – helps kick off the Festival of Trees with a large crowd, but this year’s Christmas Walk was limited to sales at participating stores in lieu of its normal events.
“We had some very, very good days, very busy days,” said Becky Walrath, one of the Festival of Trees organizers.
“We were happy with the turnout,” said Gail Swope, one of the Festival of Trees organizers. “People were very happy that we were able to do it.”
The Festival of Trees included events for children, including a coloring contest and letters to Santa. GPA also offered its Bearly Used Christmas Store – a low cost shopping option for people to purchase donated items – during the Festival of Trees.
According to GPA officials, the Festival of Trees is the association’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
“Both the Festival of Trees and Bearly Used Christmas Store had a good year considering all the challenges,” GPA officials said.
The Grayling Promotional Association uses the money raised for a variety of local efforts and causes including beautification, the Fourth of July fireworks, the Crawford County Historical Museum, Munson Healthcare, Wellington Farm USA, the Crawford AuSable Thanksgiving Dinner, bike repair stations, the AuSable River Canoe Marathon, Kirtland Community College, and more.
The Grayling Promotional Association brought back its holiday house decorating contest this year, conducting it during the Festival of Trees. GPA judged the participants and awarded prizes to the top three decorated homes.
“We did it years ago but we brought it back,” Swope said.
2020 Festival Of Trees Winners
 1. A Cut Above, Luanne Shirkey
 2. AJD Forest Products, Eric Swander
 3. Arauco, Tammy Whitley
 4. Ausable Artisan Gallery, D. Fidelkorn
 5. Ausable Dance Studio, Becky Doremire
 6. Ausable Family Dental, Lynn Hunter
 7. Ausable Gifts, Harper Ginther
 8. Baby to Toddler Closet, Deb Glicker
 9. The Brooks, Lynda Marek
10. Century 21 Northland, Deb Millar
11. Cornell Insurance, Rick Rohde
12. CA Federation of Teachers, Harper Ginther
13. Crawford County Library Staff, Jon Schultz
14. Crawford County Sheriff’s Dept, Camden Kent
15. Cub Scout Pack #3993, Kim Messisco
16. The Curator, Tiffany Pagereski
17. Dubois, Kate Reitz
18. Empower, Amelia Parker
19. Family Fare, Larry Torngg
20. Farm Bureau Ins, Melinda Greene
21. Feeny Ford, Lynn White
22. Fick & Sons, Doris Underwood
23. Flippin’ Sweet, Lucuss Odden
24. Grayling Chamber of Comm, Samantha Palmer
25. Gray Rock Pub & Grub, Heather Garrett
26. Grayling Eagles, Krista McNamara
27. Grayling Girl Scouts, Milly & Me Racing
28. Grayling Hosp for Animals, Laura Market
29. GPA, Missy Lobsinger
30. GPA Lottery Tree, Ken White
31. Grayling Restaurant, Delores Guay
32. Hawk Hill Horse, Chad Mertes
33. Heads Up North, Dylan Sartie
34. Heart of Up North Realty, Dominick Perry
35. Jade Aubrie Studio, Jordan Casey
36. Jason Thompson Law, Tony Stamour
37. Kodiak, Melissa Beckett
38. Lumberyard Shops, Joni Metiva
39. Lighthouse Group, Natalie VanGuilder
40. Moore Auto, Cierra Hallett
41. Mount Hope Church, Camden Rock
42. Munson Hospice, Cathy McBride
43. North Bound Outfitters, Kathy Lovely
44. North Country Corner, Zoey Messerschmidt
45. N Central CU, Sharon Paratchek
46. Northland Area CU, Lil Mol
47. Northstar Auto, Caroline DiPonio 
48. Paddle Hard, Britt Wilson
49. Re/Max, Jan Cragg
50. Riverhouse Inc, Nord Kermode
51. Riverhouse Store, Kim Ruley
52. Rolling Oak, Jaime Grech
53. Spike’s, Mary Herman
54. TCF Bank, Karen Dawson
55. Viking Pantry, Jeanne Dorn
56. World of Floors, Amy Kopicko
Gift Baskets
 1. Ausable Canoe Mara (M), Judy Clyma
 2. Ausable Canoe Mara (F), Beth Kermode
 3. The Avalanche, Audrey Zack
 4. Baby Basket, Peggy Studer
 5. Blarney Stone, Cherie Latowski
 6. Christmas Bask-S Hanson, Cheri Green
 7. Coffee by Steph, Jennifer Malicowski
 8. COOR, Tracey Morton
 9. Crawford Cty Artists, Lee Montgomery
10. Crawford Cont Care, Carol Gordon
11. C.W. Soaps & Scents, Linda MacWilliams
12. Dead Bear, Tina Bassett
13. DoTerra, Kim Emmos
14 Evening by the Fire-M Thorn, Karen Dawson
15. Forest Dunes, Tim Swope
16. Grayling CC, Jim McBride
17. Grayling Greenhouse, Dot Peacor
18. Hanson Hills, Anthony Melan
19. Kids Basket, Keith Kleinert
20. Mike & Kathy Lovely, Jennifer Villwock
21. Lynda Marek-Wine Rack, Betty Bennett
22. Ole Dam Party Store, Joel Arwood
23. Riverpark Campground, Sharon Paratchek
24. Royal Stage Properties, Mary Kay Hinkle
25. Save A Lot, Sally Freeman
26. Take Me Away Spa Bskt, Ashton Davis
27. Tip’n the Mitten, Diane Wakely
28. Tractor Supply, Lorinda Hinkle
29. Weyerhaeuser, Brittani Wilson
30. Wimpy’s, Gail Schultz
31. Up North Voice, Tina Combs
32. Boy Tree, Connor Ketchum
33. Girl Tree, Sherry Graziano
House Decorating Contest
1. 4890 Dawn Drive
2. 201 North Park
3. 6647 Nottingham
List of winners courtesy of the Grayling Promotional Association

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806
E-Mail: information@crawfordcountyavalanche.com

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