As announced last weekend, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed another event: Christmas Tree Elegance, which was scheduled to run Tuesday through Dec. 13 in River Park Square.
Christmas Tree Elegance, organized by the Spokane Symphony Associates, is a free-to-attend fundraiser for the Spokane Symphony. The 2019 event raised more than $400,000 for the organization. This year would have marked the 38th Christmas Tree Elegance.
Each year, individuals and businesses donate to create tree displays, with values of as much as $4,999 in decorations and prizes. Raffle tickets for tree displays and prizes are sold for $1 each, and at the end of Christmas Tree Elegance, a public drawing is held to see who won each tree.
Elizabeth Raol, chairwoman of Christmas Tree Elegance, said she, the Christmas Tree Elegance team and the volunteers tried to make it work with new social-distancing rules in place, but after the most recent surge of COVID-19 cases, they realized that they were asking volunteers and those who viewed the trees to take unnecessary risks.
Instead of putting final touches on the trees, the volunteers are boxing up prizes and preparing the trees to be stored.
“It is so disappointing and unfortunate,” Raol said. “We have a committee forum that will be working on possibilities for the future. We’re not exactly sure when we’re coming out again, but we definitely will be trying.”
Though many Christmas Tree Elegance fans have suggested selling raffle tickets online, Raol said that because they are a raffle and not an auction, they can’t sell tickets online as per Washington State Gambling Commission rules.
Raol said others have been asking how they can donate to Christmas Tree Elegance even without the standard event. She calls the support priceless. To donate to Christmas Tree Elegance, go to spokanesymphonyassoc.org or send a check to SSA, P.O. Box 365, Spokane, WA 99210.
“It’s a dollar a dream,” Raol said. “Most people in any circumstance can come up with four quarters. It’s just amazing. In the past, some people put one ticket in and they win. … It’s a wonderful event, and to be able to support the symphony in that way is so important.”
The titles and cash amounts of the 11 trees that were set to be in this year’s Christmas Tree Elegance are “A Christmas Wish” ($4,500), sponsored by Valerie and Albert Hughes; “Hogwarts Holiday” ($3,000), sponsored by Belanger Charitable Trust; “It’s a Small World” ($1,500), sponsored by Garco Construction; “Ageless Beauty Wonderland” ($500), sponsored by Plastic Surgery Northwest; “Goody, Goody Gumdrops” ($1,500), sponsored by Gordon and Rhoda Budke, Parks CPA; “Uptown to the North Pole” ($1,000), sponsored by Josh and Sara Clements-Sampson; “Living Your Best Life” ($1,000), sponsored by Infinite Electric; “Inland Northwest Staycation” ($1,000), sponsored by Spokane Seed Co.; “Home for the Holidays” ($1,000), sponsored by the Barkley Realty Group, Greg Barkley and Kim Hagel-Barkley; “Adventure Awaits” ($500), sponsored by Mainstream Electric, Holliday Heating; and “Santa Takes a Coffee Break” ($4,000), sponsored by SRM Development LLC.
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