ELKO — Newmont Mining Corp. got in the spirit of giving this week, and was the top bidder at the 25th annual Festival of Trees.
Elko Convention & Visitors Authority calculated a total of $25,065 was raised by the silent auction at the festival. That money will be split among five charities selected by the ECVA board.
The item receiving the highest bid was a combination of a replica of the Lamoille Presbyterian Church and a Christmas tree, donated by Eide Bailly. Newmont Mining Corp. paid $700 for the set.
“We’re going to donate the church to the museum, and that way everyone can see it,” said Newmont External Relations Specialist Lisa Becker.
Northeastern Nevada Museum will have the tree on display for the public.
“We appreciate everything Newmont does for us, and we’re so happy to have the church,” said Exhibits Coordinator Lauren Roovaart.
The church was constructed by Shawn Sabala. Windows on its front were designed to match those on the full-sized building, and there are lights inside the replica.
Newmont will place the Eide Bailly tree in its own office.
“I love this tree,” Becker said. “We just couldn’t pass it up.”
The mining company also won the bid on three other trees, for a total donation of $1,350. These trees will also be donated to organizations in town.
Elko Sew-Vac’s tree, which featured handmade mittens, will be donated to Communities in Schools, Becker said. In turn, CIS will give the mittens to children who need them.
A smaller tree, decorated in memory of Lisa Willard Blanco, will be placed in the home of a hospice family through Horizon Hospice.
“It’s sort of a double donation,” Becker said. “The money goes to charity, and the tree goes to charity.”
Newmont also bought back its own trees, made by the human resources department, which featured sports items for children.
“Typically we look for a tree that has a lot of toys,” Becker said.
The company bid $400 on the tree and plans to donate it to the Boys & Girls Club.
Events coordinator Kandiss Fallowfield said the ECVA’s goal this year was to raise $25,000 at the Festival of Trees.
The charities selected to receive this year’s money were Bridge Builders, Communities in Schools, Family Respite, Friends of the Elko County Library, and the SnoBowl Foundation.