ELKO – The Elko Conference Center is hosting the 27th Annual Festival of Trees, featuring 130 entries donated by local businesses and families.

Participants started setting up trees early Monday morning, and they were ready for the public to view as of 6 p.m.

“We’ve done the Jenna and Carter Kidwell tree since 2004,” said Jennifer Koopman. “I have been here decorating since 6:55 a.m. We are trying to teach children about kindness and giving, which is a true gift to give to someone during this time of year.”

The Encore String Orchestra was performing on opening night, which included visits with Santa until 8 p.m.

Each tree can be bid on in a silent auction during the festival. All of the proceeds will be evenly split between the charity partners for the event: the Committee Against Domestic Violence, Friends In Service Helping (FISH), Northeastern Nevada SAFE (Special Advocates for the Elderly), the Special Olympics, and the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation.

“What is really heartwarming is to see how many people and organizations in the community are so generous — from working on the trees to donating — and it’s profound to witness it,” said Event Coordinator Erin Myers. “We raised $30,000 last year, and our goal for this year is $28,000.”

Each display at the Conference Center is identified by a paper sign describing the family or organization that donated the tree. People can bid on multiple trees, wreaths and stockings displayed in the center by filling out the bulletin boards near the item.

Bidding is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Other special events at the festival include a daily kindergarten story time hosted by Holly Whittle of the Elko County Library from 8:45 a.m. until 3 p.m. Santa visits and photos are from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday, and from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Mountain View Elementary singers will perform from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Winners of the silent bids on the trees, wreaths and stockings will be announced Thursday morning. Displays will be taken down and packaged carefully to transport or give in-person to the winners.

Correction: This story has been changed to reflect the correct spelling of Myers.

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