By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The scent of fresh-cut pine filled the Vern Burton Community Center on East Fourth Street in Port Angeles with 53 decorated trees and 43 wreaths, most of which were auctioned Friday.
Santa Claus greeted squealing children Sunday afternoon, while names were called out each hour for a drawing in which winners got to choose among a variety of holiday stockings, wreaths and table decorations.
The Festival of Trees also sparked the imagination for some who were looking for inspiration.
“I'm getting ideas. I think I'm going retro with gold,” said Rachel Breed, 28, of Forks.
Breed, with her 18-month-old daughter, Malin Breed and her sister, Joanne Soderlind, 26, of Sequim, had finished their Christmas shopping and spent part of the afternoon sightseeing indoors.
A visit to the Festival of Trees is a family tradition, Breed said.
For others, the trees were a special treat.
Kensho and Keishi Ichimura, ages 4 and 3, and their father, Pat Sheehan, were visiting grandmother Linda DeWolf of Port Angeles from Japan.
The boys were fascinated with a model railroad track that circled the bottom of a tree.
“They like the colors,” Sheehan said, speaking to his sons in Japanese.
Older eyes also appreciated the visual smorgasbord.
Laurie Davies, 58, of Port Angeles designed the “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” tree but had not yet seen the other entries at the annual holiday event. Though in her ninth year of designing trees, Davies said she has yet to tire of it.
“The trees are getting better and better. Every year, I say, 'Oh goodness, look at that design,'” she said. “It's an incredible fundraiser.”
The trees will depart the center today, as their new owners take them home or to their businesses.
Friday's festival gala dinner and auction raised $113,000 for the Olympic Medical Center Foundation, said Executive Director Bruce Skinner.
The “Kringlekin Elves Made in America” tree, with the premium gift of a $10,000 cabinet built by Westport, received the highest bid, at $6,000.
It was designed by Sherry Phillips and sponsored by the Irwin Dental Center, and was sold to Bill and Kay Hermann of Port Angeles.
“Christmas Coach Fashionista” also sold for $6,000 and came with the premium gift of $5,000 in Coach brand totes, purses and bags that which decorated the tree.
Designed by Lynette Crouse and Bobbie Kreider and sponsored by the Elwha River Casino, it went to Jack and Terri Harmon of Port Angeles.
Some of the more unusual trees were the “Golden Books” tree, decorated with children's books and topped by a large stuffed elephant, and “Chutes and Ladders,” with ribbon tubes recalling the popular children's board game.
The festival also included two Teddy Bear Teas on Friday, a Saturday morning Senior Breakfast and — new this year — a Saturday night dance, themed “Home for the Holidays.”
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.