Pomerene Auxiliary Christmas Festival becoming a holiday staple

Pomerene Auxiliary Christmas Festival becoming a holiday staple
File

The annual Pomerene Christmas Festival features a number of decorated Christmas trees that will be available for not only viewing to the public, but also for purchase during the Dec. 4-5 event at Berlin Grande Hotel.

                        

The staff members at Pomerene Hospital are busy doing their best to fend off COVID-19, making sure area people get the very best care possible. But whenever there are unforeseen circumstances at Pomerene Hospital, it can assuredly turn to the Pomerene Hospital Auxiliary to lend a helping hand.

The auxiliary has been an organization that has helped cover unexpected expenses or purchased needed equipment for many of the hospital’s departments for many years, and amidst this year of COVID trauma, the auxiliary’s role has become even more critical.

With that in mind, members of the auxiliary are stepping in to fill the void by ushering in the 11th annual Pomerene Hospital Auxiliary Christmas Tree Festival on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4-5 at Berlin Grande Hotel.

The event is open to the public, although this year’s effort will take on a few minor changes due to the coronavirus. The cost to attend the festival is $5 per person while children age 14 and younger are free. It will be open to the public on Friday, Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Christmas Tree Festival will feature dozens of decorated Christmas trees, wreaths and centerpieces, and all of the items will be available for purchase for patrons to deck the halls of their own home or business.

According to Cindy Yoder, volunteer services coordinator with the Pomerene Hospital Auxiliary, they had discussed doing an online auction, but she said people could never get the full experience doing that, so they opted to move ahead, taking every precaution and even limiting the number of people inside the facility to 10 at any given time. Of course, masks will be mandatory, and the snacks that are normally present will be absent this year.

“We really went into great depth in figuring out how we can maintain social distancing and make sure this event is safe,” Yoder said. “That will include wearing a mask and answering a few health-related questions. It won’t slow the process down at all.”

Yoder said they will continually sanitize the area as the event unfolds.

The participating businesses and organizations that decorated the Christmas items took great care to make decorations that were interesting and beautiful. The nearly two-dozen trees will be on sale for anywhere from $150-$2,000 while the table decorations and wreaths usually sell in the $50-$400 range. New to the show this year will be furniture donated from local furniture stores, only adding to the shopping experience.

Yoder said while some donors decorated their items and brought them to the Berlin Grande Hotel ready to go, others brought in their decorations and built their trees from the ground up right there in the room.

“I’m always impressed by how much thought goes into most of these decorations,” Yoder said.

According to Yoder, they experienced a big jump in the number of area businesses and organizations that chose to participate last year, and she said this year appears as though that number will only increase.

“We have a lot of new people this year who have never participated before, along with a good chunk of people who have been a part of this for a long time,” Yoder said. “I think we have such a caring, giving community that in times like we are in right now, people are even more willing to give than ever before.”

The increase in participation last year helped the auxiliary soar past the $16,000 level in funds raised, between the sales, raffle tickets and entry fees. That marked a high-water number for the auxiliary.

Each patron’s $5 entry fee to attend the event will allow them to vote for their favorite tree, centerpiece and wreath. In addition, there will be judge awards for the top presentations in each category.

While the public event will officially kick off Dec. 4, on Dec. 3 the auxiliary will present its donor night, an evening that allows the many people who donated items to the festival to come in and be the first to experience this slice of Christmas joy.

Yoder said she is always amazed at the way the community brings in such amazing decorations and Christmas trees for this show year after year and exhibits such a willingness to show that kind of support for the Pomerene Auxiliary.

“We have been so blessed by the outpouring of support over the years,” she said. “The donor night is our chance to say thank you to all of them for what they have done to make this event possible.”

Each year the sponsor night usually has a huge spread of food, but that was shut down this year by the coronavirus. Instead, Yoder said a number of area businesses have made donations for a goodie bag for the visiting patrons including Coblentz Chocolate, Kaufman Bakery, Walnut Creek Cheese and Hershberger Popcorn, among others. All of the goodies will come in a neatly decorated bag.

The funds raised from the event, which serves as the auxiliary’s major fundraiser each year, will be poured right back into the community through the hospital. Yoder said in past years they have helped purchase a transportation van, remodeled the obstetrician waiting room area, purchased new dining room furniture for the hospital cafeteria, purchased a new air-conditioning unit for the emergency department and helped fund many other projects over the years.

This Christmas festival continues to be an event that brings the spirit of the holidays to life, in addition to providing a key benefit that serves both Pomerene Hospital and the people of Holmes County.

Berlin Grande Hotel is located at 4787 Township Road 366 in Berlin.


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