Tickets on Sale for Festival of Trees Benefiting Two Local Nonprofits

(Sally Hogarty, Photographer)
A guest admires the assortment of table top trees, baskets and wreaths available for raffle at last year’s Festival of Trees.

    The Monument Crisis Center in Concord and Renaissance Scholars at California State University, East Bay will be the recipients of this year’s Festival of Trees benefit organized by the Orinda Woman’s Club.
    Marking its 33rd year, the event takes place at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 21 at the Marriott Hotel in San Ramon.
    The Crisis Center is a community-based non-profit family resource center for Central and East Contra Costa County. It offers food, resources and referrals to low-income individuals and families to help them become stable. 
    Providing support services to students exiting the foster care system to accomplish their goal of obtaining a college degree is the mission of Renaissance Scholars explains Janet Nelson, chairperson of Festival of Trees. 
    “It’s a thrill to walk into the foyer of the hotel and see the trees, baskets and wreaths on every table with their creative designs just waiting to be claimed by the winning raffle tickets,” says Nelson.
    Past president Barbara Rogan says she feels an enormous sense of pride at what the women accomplish. “Typically, we raise over $30,000 to support our various charities. Last year, $38,000 was raised,” she says.
    To accomplish this, along with ticket sales, is a raffle of gift baskets, small Christmas trees filled with presents, and a silent auction featuring a complimentary stay for two in a deluxe guest room at the Lafayette Park Hotel, a certificate for two at the Etcerta Fashion Sip and Shop, and more. A destination raffle includes a condo at Lake Tahoe or a stay at the Hampton Inn for two nights with breakfast in downtown Chicago. 
    Karen Norris has designed and made many trees with the help of friends. They range from a “Hamilton” theme to “Old World Charm.”
    “Our most popular tree is the silver decorated miniature tree called The Money Tree,” says its creator Kelly Davis. “It is full of lights and rolled up bills. The money on this tree is raised by the members at our September and October meetings.”
    The event includes a fashion show and lunch that is served in the dining room where an elevated ramp runs down the center for the models to parade. Master of ceremonies will be Dan Ashley, co-anchor of ABC 7 News. Fashions will be from Helen Lyall Clothes for Women and Scott Lyall Clothes for Men.
    Sandra Casentini is modeling for her second time. “My nervousness vanishes as soon as I step out. Everyone is smiling and clapping as I look into the crowded room. It’s such a happy atmosphere,” she says.
    Model Patti Camras, who is featured on the event invitation in a black evening ensemble, says, “Participating in this fashion show is so much fun. Helen Lyall’s clothes are fabulous. I’ve been a model since 2005 and every year, I pick out my favorite outfit to purchase,” she says. “I like it that the Woman’s Club is focused on both social and service oriented work. They contribute to very good causes.”
    To purchase tickets, priced at $95, go to where you also can donate. Or contact Kelly Davis at 925-324-7690,, or Betty Brotherton at 925-963-6356,

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