Tuesday, 20 December 2011 by Thomas Tavaziva
The United Way of Central Texas provided an early Christmas for the area by hosting an exciting holiday fundraiser.
The "Chrome and Carols Festival of Trees" took place last Thursday evening at Horny Toad Harley-Davidson in Temple.
The charitable event was a huge success and attracted more than 350 guests.
The purpose of the event was for the community to bond and spread the Christmas cheer by helping local Central Texans in need.
All proceeds of the fundraiser went to local United Way-supported agencies.
"We usually do a major campaign every year to fund all 27 agencies in the area," said Ann Thompson, United Way of Central Texas Executive Director. "But after doing garage sales for several years we wanted to do something different that would raise more money."
Thompson said that a big fundraiser was needed because state and federal cuts had affected the programs and budget of several social agencies.
The fundraiser involved winning Christmas trees by purchasing raffle tickets. Raffle tickets were priced at $1 apiece, $25 for 30 or $50 for 100.
There were 10 Christmas trees on display on the night of the event. Each tree was underwritten by a local company and was exquisitely and professionally designed and decorated with a Christmas carol theme by Precious Memories Floral and Gift Shop in Temple.
There were themed gifts worth thousands of dollars beneath the different trees and guests were able to win the tree, decorations and gifts.
Belton Christian Youth Center and Ralph Wilson Youth Club worked together to underwrite a tree.
Under their tree there was an iPhone music station with a microphone, Acer computer notebook, Canon digital camera, red wagon, red electric scooter, books, a candy basket and other miscellaneous toy items.
Guests were entertained by the popular and immensely talented Funk Factory Band and there were hors d'oeuvres provided by the Hilton Garden Inn for guests to enjoy.
There was also a silent auction for Christmas wreaths. The wreaths were designed and decorated by a United Way of Central Texas supported agency.
Thompson described the event as a success and said that the attendance exceeded her expectations. She attributed the successful planning of the event to UWCT Marketing and Communication Coordinator Mary Beth Kelton, who spent six months planning for the event.
"We wanted to do something different that would be fun and this turned out to be a great idea," said, Kelton. "This event was definitely a great way to kick off the holiday season and we hope to continue this tradition next year."