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Saturdays Festival of Trees benefits Challenged Child
Despy Foley puts the finishing touches Wednesday on a tree sponsored by Joyce Merck Florist at the Buisson Barn. The tree is part of the annual Challenged Child and Friends Festival of Trees set for Saturday evening. - photo by Tom Reed
Festival of Trees
What: Fundraiser to benefit Challenged Child and Friends
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Buisson Barn on Lake Lanier
Featured: Heavy hors d’oeuvres and complimentary fine wine, beer and cocktails. Live and silent auction items will include trees, wreaths, original artwork, jewelry and travel packages.
Extra: Noel Party Packages include Gala tickets and a cocktail party at the Buissons’ home.
Tickets: $80 for Gala; $175 for Noel Party
Contact: Gail Schneider at 770-535-8372, ext. 309; view selected artwork online at this Web site.

This weekend, you can get into the holiday spirit and help a local nonprofit school that helps children with disabilities.

The annual Festival of Trees fundraiser is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Buisson Barn on Lake Lanier. Proceeds from sales of the lavishly decorated trees, wreaths and artwork will fund scholarships at Challenged Child and Friends, a local program that provides services and support for children with a wide range of disabilities and their families.

Lee Highsmith, director of development at Challenged Child, said the need this year is even greater.

“This past year, because of the economy, we’ve had our families request $164,000 more in scholarship aid than we had in the budget, so we really need the community to come together and help us raise money for families,” she said.

No families are turned away from Challenged Child because of inability to pay, Highsmith said.

Last year, Challenged Child helped children from 13 area counties, Highsmith said. The volunteers helping put together this weekend’s festival are from those same 13 counties, representing the wide reach of the school, she said.

“Because of Challenged Child and Friends, children that would have been forgotten and hidden away, they get the help and support they need,” Highsmith said.

Tickets for the gala celebration are $80 each. A special preview Noel Party will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. at the home of Bob and Red Buisson. The $175 ticket includes the 7 p.m. Gala Celebration, early check in and a preview of the auction items, though Noel Party tickets are limited.

The Gala Celebration will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres and complimentary wine, beer or cocktails. Decorations, artwork and travel packages will be auctioned off during the event. Trees range in size from 9 feet tall to tabletop size, Highsmith said.

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