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Giving the gift of a college education at Festival of Trees

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    Most trees at the Festival of Trees fundraiser Tuesday had a theme including this Grinch one, which got a lot of attention at Danbury Assisted Living in Brunswick.

    ALYSSA ALFANO / GAZETTE

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    Santa and Mrs. Claus talk to a group of people who attended the Festival of Trees while they eat. They got to visit a lot of people at the Festival of Trees.

    ALYSSA ALFANO / GAZETTE

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BRUNSWICK — The Grinch may want to steal Christmas, but organizers of a holiday themed event featuring Christmas trees — one paying homage to the classic tale by Dr. Seuss — want to make sure access to education is not stolen from area youth.

On Tuesday night, community members gathered at Danbury Assisted Living in Brunswick for a new fundraiser with a holiday twist.

The lobby and main hallway of the facility were lined with wreaths and trees adorned with ornaments, lights and decorations. A band played holiday music and laughter filled the room.

The hope was a night of fun would lead to college scholarships for students in need.

The Festival of Trees, put on by the Optimist Club of Brunswick, was a festive way for the organization to raise money to help out kids in the community. Local businesses donated decorated Christmas trees or wreaths and members of the community bid on ones that they wanted to bring home.

“Some of the businesses didn’t donate trees, they donated money,” said Liz Baloun, member of the Optimist Club’s board of directors. “So we, Norma Lesnak (vice president) and I used the money to buy and decorate trees.”

Lesnak and Baloun decorated three wreaths and five trees that were to be auctioned off. All of the proceeds from the event will be going toward helping kids in Brunswick through scholarships and charitable donations.

The Optimist Club is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of the youth in the areas where they have chapters. The Brunswick chapter, with help from local businesses and donors, provided dinner, a band, dozens of desserts and more while many community members came out to place their bids on trees and wreaths.

Megan Murphy, who was at the event with her family, said that her favorite tree was a seashell themed tree.

She and her family bid on two trees at the event.

“Basically, the Optimist Club has partnered with Danbury to put it on,” said Lesnak. “This is the first one — the first Festival of Trees.”

The Danbury staff helped with food preparation at the event and even brought many of the residents out to view the trees and enjoy the meal.

“We are just so happy that we can have this and partner with such a wonderful place,” said Baloun. “Danbury is such a community-oriented place and they help us so immensely.”

“We are here to support the Optimist Club and eat food,” Brunswick resident Rodger Nixon said.

Contact reporter Alyssa Alfano at aalfano@medina-gazette.com
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