New Festival of Trees and Gingerbread House contest to be held Thanksgiving weekend in Afton
• Nov. 24 and 25.
A new Star Valley Festival of Trees and Gingerbread House Contest is set to be held November 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Gather on 89 venue in Afton.
The cost to get into the event is a canned or pantry donation or a monetary donation to a local food bank. 100% of proceeds raised at the event will go to local food banks across Star Valley. Bethany Packard of the Volunteer Committee moved to the area four years ago and was hoping to find a way to use the venue on the corner of 89 and 4th Avenue.
“We had that beautiful Gather on 89 space,” Packard said. “We were trying to think of things we could do for the community. A Festival of Trees idea was just kind of born.”
It is also not simply about Christmas trees either as there will be the Gingerbread House Contest. She says they wanted to find a way to get the whole community involved and this was one of them. She says the committee wants the community to help them build a “big gingerbread village”.
“Community members will see lots of flyers up and down the valley from north to south in business windows,” Packard said. “There’s a great amount of information on there.”
She says the entrance fee is just $5 and there will be a QR code on the flyer which will take to the Google form to sign up. She says there will be a limited number of entries which local business members will be the judges of the various categories.
“We have kindergarten through 3rd grade,” Packard said. “4th grade through 6th grade, 7th through 12th grade, the adult 18 or above category, a family or group category, and a professional category.”
She says you will then bring the gingerbread houses to the Gather on 89 venue on Monday November 20. The trees will be judged by a five pane committee. There will also be a community choice award as well.
“And we’ll build these villages out of all these awesome gingerbread creations,” Packard said. “Then the community will be able to come and view those.”
She says Sunnyside Gardens from Ammon, Idaho is donating some trees as part of the event. She also says there will be a fishbowl raffle where you purchase one ticket or several and put them in a bowl in front of a tree you would like to purchase. She says she hopes it will grow larger in future years, but this year there will be four trees to choose from.
She says there will be a lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Friday and Saturday of the event and there will be several kinds of soup and bread served for a $5 minimum donation. Santa and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance as well Friday 6-8 p.m. and Saturday 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Afton Food Pantry Board Member, Robyn Ross, says a monetary donation goes a long way. They have been seeing over 100 to 130 people patrons coming in each month.
“In November and December those numbers really increase,” Ross said. “There’s a lot of need and we have been able to help a lot of people.”
She says they are more than happy to accept your non-perishable food donation, but they love receiving cash donations. This is because they can take the money to stores and get special discounts on food.
“So, that money we are able to get it to go further than maybe you or I would be able to,” Ross said. “So, money is really the best way, but we will take actual food donations.”
She says they need things like cereal donations. She also says some things that people really don’t think about are items like spices or baking supplies. She also highlights honey as a special item of need during the winter months.