This weekend Saturday December 3rd will be the last call for bids at the Kenai Visitor & Cultural Center (KVCC) annual Christmas Tree Auction to benefit local non-profit service organizations. Since the Friday after Thanksgiving when Santa arrived at the traditional Christmas Comes to Kenai event held at the KVCC, the custom decorated trees have been on display and available for bidding. Saturday at 3:00pm the auction will close and winners announced says Natasha Ala, executive director for the KVCC. "Peggy Arness gave us this unique idea several years ago and it has really taken off over the last three years. What we do is invite non-profit organizations in the community to come in and decorate a tree that we provide in any manner of their choice. We then offer them at auction with half of the proceeds going to the organization that decorated the tree and half staying with the Visitors Center to support our programs and exhibits," explained Ala.
Many of trees are laden with hundreds of dollars worth of gift certificates, original hand carved decorations, and prizes including gift cards for trips and accommodations says Ala. "It's amazing what people have come up with to put on and under these trees. Additionally if someone wants to bid on a tree to give to a needy family or friend if you're the lucky bidder we'll deliver the tree for you to their home at no additional cost." There are eighteen trees up for auction and several wreaths, uniquely titled for the occasion as "Unreath's." "This is a new idea from Zirrus VanDevere of our staff, what we did was distribute wreaths to different artists in the community and challenged them to de-construct them and use the materials to create a new piece of art and the Unreaths will also be auctioned off," added Ala. One of the Unreaths is a creation of Ross Baxter known as the "Ring of Fire," complete with QR codes decorating the Unreath that when scanned with you cell phone plays the original Johnny Cash rendition of Ring of Fire. You don't have to spend a lot of money to win one of the trees, Ala says some of threes are going up for Bucket auction, "You can buy a one dollar ticket and put them in the stocking of your favorite tree then on December 3rd we'll draw a lucky ticket and if it's yours you win a beautiful tree for only a dollar," she said. Cookies will be available for visitors all day long with caroling to begin at 2:00pm Saturday, December 3rd, with the auction closing and winning bids announced at 3:00pm. For more information stop by the KVCC or call 283-1991.