BLOWING ROCK — The intoxicating aroma of Frasier fir Christmas trees and wreaths and a merry sense of giving resulted in the fourth annual Festival of Trees raising $46,000 and counting, according to Director of Development Julia Roberts on Monday.

The festival took place in the Appalachian/Blue Ridge room at Chetola Resort from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2, offering more than 75 fully decorated Christmas trees and wreaths for auction and purchase, many filled with extra goodies and gifts. Prices ranged from a $35 opening bid for a wreath to a $1,200 buy-it-now price for the more decorative trees.

WYN Executive Director Jennifer Warren spoke at Thursday’s VIP reception about partnering with Capital Bank on financial literacy courses for students. Jason Triplett with Capital Bank then presented Warren with a check for $10,000 to help fund financial literacy courses.

“Capital Bank employees will partner with WYN to help our students gain confidence about money so that they can be empowered to make financially sound decisions in the future,” WYN said in a Tuesday statement.

Kent Tarbutton, proprietor of Chetola Resort, said one of his employees’ kids has a WYN mentor.

“(WYN) keeps kids in school, gives them the nurturing that they might not get at home,” Tarbutton said. “For somebody to tell you that you have value and worth in life is more powerful than I could even put into words.”

The festival hosted military appreciation events on Friday with the Watauga High School Marine Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, presented by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Bricca Sweet and Col. (Ret.) Sonny Sweet, founders of the Sonny Sweet Scholarship Fund in support of WYN kids. Santa and Mrs. Claus visited the festival on Saturday, presented by Carolina West Wireless.

Money raised from the Festival of Trees will be used for Western Youth Network’s after-school and mentoring programs. Western Youth Network reaches more than 2,000 children and young adults in five counties (Avery, Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga and Wilkes).


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