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Lacombe and Blackfalds Festival of Wreaths moves online for 10th anniversary

The wreaths can be viewed online or at the Lacombe Memorial Centre and Abbey Centre
Lianna Lapointe from Urban Wellness with a wreath full of gift cards. Photo courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters

The Festival of Wreaths will be completely online this year for the first time ever. The fundraiser is organized by Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) and raises money to support children in the community.

The auction works by local businesses donating products or services, which are then displayed in a large Christmas wreath. Traditionally, bidding for the prizes can be done online as well as in-person but this year that has had to change.

There are 50 wreaths that have been adopted by local businesses in Lacombe and Blackfalds. Despite the tough economic year in the province Crystal Zens, Executive Director of BBBS, said this is close to the number of wreaths she would see in a typical year.

“The businesses have spent a lot of hours on their wreaths and have been very generous,” said Zens.

There are many styles of wreaths ranging from traditional Christmas to Star Wars and each varies in value.

“The wreaths are really unique because the businesses put some specialty items like experiences or things from their business that you wouldn’t normally be able to purchase,” said Zens.

“They are full of gift cards and items that would make equally great Christmas presents and help kids that are going through a really tough time.”

A new feature this year is the text updates for when a person is outbid. Zens said bidders now have the option to sign up to receive text messages when they have been outbid on a wreath and can bid in ten dollar increments. This will be helpful when bidding wars begin to arise on the more popular items.

BBBS is hoping to raise $8,000 from the auction with all proceeds going towards programming for youth in the county. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the non-profit has been forced to cancel many of its annual in-person events that help to keep BBBS in operation.

“We’re really relying on the public to share our website and bid on the wreaths,” said Zens who added she has seen enrolment for programs spike due to the pandemic.

“We are lucky enough to have some of our fundraising go online and keep sustains our operation to help the kids.”

Festival of Wreaths bidding can be completed on the BBBS website and is open until Dec. 16. Anyone interested in donating money or volunteer time to BBBS in Lacombe and Blackfalds can do so online.

Erin Sitensky (left) and Rebecca Slater pose with MNP’s 2020 wreath. Photo courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters
Maulik Patel (left) and Nicole Kane from Boston Pizza Blackfalds showcase their 2020 Christmas wreath. Photo courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters
Lacombe Boston Pizza also contributed a wreath this year which Trisha Hiron and Tina Gardiner are holding here. Photo courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters
This fun-loving wreath from Sims and Associates would make the perfect gift for the Star Wars fan in your life. Photo courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters