CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Festival of Trees starts this week

This week marks the official launch of the 14th Annual Festival of Trees.

There are a few changes to this popular event, which we believe will benefit area businesses in particular.

This year, the festival is being jointly hosted and organized by the Sierra Vista Area Chamber, Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review and the Mall at Sierra Vista.

The collaboration of these three major entities means exposure of this event and its participants will significantly increase.

That is good news for businesses looking for some creative, low cost ways to get their name out to thousands of potential customers.

We are particularly encouraging the business community to get involved by entering a tree for display at the mall during the 12-day festival.

The cost to you is the tree and its decorations — there is no entry fee.

Your tree will then be viewed by the thousands of people who visit the festival from Nov. 24 until Dec. 5.

All of the trees, along with the gingerbread houses, Christmas wreaths and centerpieces, are sold to the public, who can ‘Buy It Now’ at full price or at the auction on Dec. 5 during the end of festival celebration evening.

One of the goals of this event is to raise enough funds to pay for a new library at the Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Vista.

Currently, the club is using its dining facility as a makeshift library, which does not allow the children to have a quiet area for reading and homework.

We hope to be able to solve that problem by helping the charity convert a staff room to a fully functioning library.

Also benefiting from this event will be a soldier’s family, chosen by the Fort’s Chaplain’s office. This family will be the recipient of the Charity Tree, which has been donated by Sears. 

The tree, however, has yet to be decorated and we are asking members of the public to buy an ornament to place on it. We will have a limited number of ornaments at the festival volunteer table, which will be available in exchange for a small donation, or you can bring your own.

In addition, a number of local non-profits have families that cannot afford their own tree. 

Members of the public will be able to purchase trees and donate them to Good Neighbor Alliance, Forgach House, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and St. Vincent de Paul.

A new feature this year will be a schools category, where area schools can submit an entry. The tree chosen as the first place winner by the judges will then be sold and the school that submitted it will receive those funds.

And right now we are selling raffle tickets for some fabulous prizes, including a 55-inch television donated by Best Buy, a $300 tool kit donated by Lowe’s and an electric smoker, courtesy of SSVEC, to name just a few.

Tickets cost $5 each or five for $20 and are available at the Chamber, Herald or the mall.

The presenting sponsor of the Festival of Trees is Sierra Vista Health Regional Center and our media sponsor is Cherry Creek Radio, featuring K101, KWCD and KTAN.

We are offering businesses the opportunity to gain valuable exposure by also signing up as a sponsor.

Northrop Grumman, RV City, Arizona State Lottery, Pioneer Title and Dickerson Fundraising Solutions have already taken advantage of this offer. Sponsorships are available from just $100.

Businesses that participate in the festival, either as a sponsor or tree donor, may be eligible for a marketing dollars tax deduction (see your tax professional for details), while those who purchase a tree, gingerbread house, centerpiece or wreath will receive a tax deduction receipt from the Boys & Girls Club.

As have read, there are many ways to become involved in this great Sierra Vista tradition and we hope you will take the opportunity to participate in the festivities.

For more details about sponsorships and how to enter a tree, call event manager Eva Dickerson at 515-4654 or email

 AMANDA BAILLIE is the Executive Director of the Sierra Vista Area Chamber. Originally from Wales, United Kingdom, she has lived in Sierra Vista for nine years and became a U.S. citizen in January 2012. She is a former Sierra Vista Herald reporter and managed the opening of the Sierra Vista Food Co-op before joining the Chamber in June 2011.

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