Science North and the Sudbury Charities Foundation are raising the bar this year with its Festival of Trees campaign.
The Festival of Trees made a triumphant return last year, raising about $10,000 that was split between the two organizations to support their respective programming.
Ashley Larose, director of development for Science North, said the Festival of Trees is a virtual online auction featuring 19 artificial Christmas trees dressed to the nines, with themes that will suit everyone’s fancy.
That’s two more trees than last year, all of which are donated by local individuals, businesses or organizations, said Larose.
“Last year, we had more than 100 bidders, and we’re already at that number,” Larose said.
Trees can be viewed in person during the science centre’s operating hours, which includes Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the Sudbury Market sets up inside.
Many of the trees come with additional prize packages you can’t actually see as part of decorations, but include everything from wine to toys to safety equipment and electronics, said Larose.
Furthermore, an added bonus this year is the fact trees will be delivered to the winning bidders, so they don’t have to worry about getting their trees from Science North home.
“We know this year that we can get people in to actually see the trees, and they are so beautiful,” Larose said.
Bidding closes at 5 p.m. on Dec. 4.
The bidding process has become even easier this year, Larose said. Those who are bidding will automatically receive an email alerting them if they have been outbid.
“If it’s anything like last year, the bidding really heats up in the last few days, going right down to the wire on some trees,” she said.
Trees go anywhere from $500 to $1,000, but each one is valued at more than $1,000.
“You’re getting a really great deal and supporting really great causes,” she said.
Anyone who is interested in supporting this fundraiser, but might not necessarily need the tree, there is a partnership where the trees can be donated to a family in need, Larose said.
“We did that last year with one of our winning bidders, who didn’t need the tree, so it was donated anonymously,” she said.
Another “festival” tradition is also taking place at Science North right now, again in partnership with Sudbury Charities Foundation.
For more than 20 years, Science North and Sudbury Charities Foundation have partnered to deliver the Festival of Lights.
The festival now includes more than 350 light displays, with several new additions, including a dinosaur skeleton.