Big Brothers Big Sisters is ready to roll with the Festival of Wreaths for the fifth year running.
The Festival of Wreaths is a BBBS fundraising where local businesses decorate and donate wreathes for auction by BBBS with the money going to support programs. This year’s wreathes have been up in the Lacombe Memorial Centre for about a week now and bidding for them opens today.
Executive Director Crystal Zens said BBBS has seen a great response for the fundraiser this year. She added it seems as though people are more comfortable with the idea now that it has been operating for a few years.
“People are actually calling our office asking when are they going to be online? When can we bid on them?” said Zens. “So people anticipate it now which makes it a lot more successful as a fundraiser and the business support has been really great.”
This year is the first time Erica Bolze, BBBS in-school case worker, has been a part of the Festival of Wreaths. She said the Festival requires a lot of effort on the parts of the organizers, but is well worth it. Bolze added she enjoys seeing the different themes and looks of the wreaths that supporters come up with.
“Everyone has dreamed up all these ideas,” said Bolze. “It’s really cool.”
Zens said the Lacombe and area business community is very competitive when it comes to creating the wreaths for the Festival.
She added the event has become a great teambuilding exercise among some businesses and also shows great community spirit.
“It’s a fun way to show your company’s community spirit,” said Zens.
She added the community members who bid on the wreaths also show incredible spirit. “I think our community is incredibly giving. I say that year after year. It’s not hard to sell them on supporting great causes – us and other charities. We’re really blessed in this community to have such close-knit business relationships.”
The City of Lacombe allows BBBS to display the wreathes at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. Community Economic Development Manager Guy Lapointe said the LMC is the perfect venue to give the wreaths lots of exposure.
“This is a great central gathering area,” said Lapointe. “Everybody gets to see them and gets lots of time to look at them and then they can bid.”
Lapointe added the fundraiser ties in well with the Light Up the Night Festival, which began last night with the Big Band Swinging Singing Christmas Concert at the LMC. He said the event gives the Festival of Wreaths even more exposure and the wreaths help decorate the LMC for the Christmas season.
“This is a very busy hub at Christmas,” said Zens. “So it’s a huge blessing for the LMC to be able to host us.”
This was a special year for the Festival of Wreaths as it was the first time the event has been held in Blackfalds. Zens said eight businesses in Blackfalds have come on board to create wreaths which are on display at the Abbey Centre.
Zens also said the expansion into Blackfalds speaks to how strong the local BBBS programming is. She added as Blackfalds is a rapidly growing community, it needs programs like BBBS.
“I think Blackfalds is a really fast-paced, growing community, especially with youth and the needs for youth services are really growing as well.”
Bidding for the auctioning of the wreaths is done online or through a silent auction book at the LMC. Online bidding is updated instantly and the silent auction bidding book is updated once a day.
Moneys raised from the fundraiser will go towards the traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters mentorship program. Zens said the organization has other programs, but does other fundraising for those programs as well.
Bidding remains open until Dec. 16th. To bid, visit www.bidsforkids.kintera.org.