The Women of Wilmington are enjoying Villanova Hall as the venue for their fundraising event, the Festival of Trees, for a second straight year. But as much as they like their current spot, members of the non-profit wouldn’t mind having to find a new location.
In just their second year running the Festival of Trees, the group has gone from 53 donated items to 79 this time around. As they continue the new tree lighting weekend tradition in the years to come, one of the event’s organizers said WOW is hopeful that the venue will become too small. After all, it is for a good cause.
“As much as we love and appreciate this place, we’re hoping we will get so big at some point that we’ll outgrow it,” said Becky McGrath. “Not only is it a fundraiser, but it’s just a nice enjoyable holiday event for anyone with no pressure to buy anything if you don’t want to.”
On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents can come to Villanova Hall and purchase sleeves of 25 raffle tickets for $10. Then, patrons will be able to walk through and see the variety of trees and other donations, and drop their tickets in the buckets of the items they’d like to win. The winning tickets will be pulled on Sunday afternoon.
Proceeds from the event will go to an adopt-a-family program where the Women of Wilmington will purchase holiday gifts for children in need.
There is a wide variety of trees with items like beer and wine, cash, lottery tickets, a sports theme much more. Patch’s “Around Wilmington” donation that includes gift cards from local businesses, pictures from the last year in town and a few gifts under the tree.
Also during the weekend will be performances by a children’s choir at 11 a.m. on both days, a visit from Mrs. Claus at 2 p.m. on Saturday, a bake sale, hot dogs, popcorn and more.
McGrath said the Women of Wilmington are hoping the Festival of Trees will become a longstanding tradition on tree lighting weekend.
“We thought it was only appropriate to pick this weekend since it’s the tree lighting and everyone is in the holiday spirit,” she said. “The more things that are going on, the better it will be for all the events.”
After the fundraiser is completed, volunteers use the money to go out and purchase the gifts for the adopted family.
When Women of Wilmington members sit around the massive pile of gifts to begin wrapping, it truly sets in why they want the event to last for years to come.
“When we deliver the gifts to the family, there’s nothing like it,” said McGrath. “That’s what gets you motivated to do it again.”