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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of December 5 - 11, 2001


Festival of Trees bridges generations

Senior citizens and youth brought together

Express Staff Writer

The heavy snowfall on the first day of December did nothing to stem the festivities of the Festival of Trees.

"People who live here are still out and about in the snow," said Chris Thompson, chairman of the festival for the second year running.

Ellen Lau and Kay Lium admire an angel that was part of the silent auction Thursday at the Festival of Trees Gala Evening. Express photo by David N. Seelig.

Thompson said the mission of the festival is to bring the valley’s senior citizens and youth together and bridge a generation gap."

With Thompson were Jo Shanholtzer and Brenda Shappee. Shanholtzer is the chairwoman of the board of directors of the Blaine County Senior Center. Shappee is the director of the center.

The two women said that money raised at the festival goes to the board.

Shappee said the board then decides how much money stays with the center and how much goes to the KidShop.

She said she wouldn’t know how much money was raised until after press time, but last year the board received $23,000, $5,000 of which went to the KidShop.

Diane Hassall, the director of daycare services for the Blaine County School District, heads up the KidShop.

"We take care of children, 4 to 11, before, after and during school hours at Bellevue and Hailey elementary schools," she said.

The Community of Faith Lutheran Church donated a "Fishing in Idaho" Christmas tree to the Festival of Trees held at the Hailey National Guard Armory. Express photo by David N. Seelig.

She said a large portion of the money goes toward the KidShop food program. She said a snack is served at 4 p.m. on school days, but she said the word snack is deceptive.

"A typical snack is a tuna fish sandwich served with a vegetable like broccoli," she said, adding that many parents are amazed when they pick up their children to see them eating their vegetables with relish.

Hassall and her volunteers put on one of the Festival of Trees events called the Children’s Winter Wonderland. It features face painting, writing letters to Santa and music.

Decorated Christmas trees, which are the big ticket item of the festival, are displayed in the Hailey National Guard Armory, and the Winter Wonderland is held across the street in the Senior Center.

On Saturday, parents and children beat a path between the two buildings.

Shappee said that most of the money goes to the Senior Center’s meal programs.

Its Meals on Wheels program distributes one meal a day, seven days a week to senior citizens at their homes.

She said the center serves approximately 65 meals, four days a week at the center.

"We’re raising money right now for a new walk-in cooler, so we can buy food in quantity and save money," Shappee said.

She estimated the cooler would cost the center $8,000.

Money raised at the festival also goes to help seniors with transportation, housework, shoveling snow and other kinds of chores for a minimal fee.

The Festival of Trees was a three-day affair, starting with a gala evening on Nov. 29. It is during the gala that the decorated trees are sold in a silent auction.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.