Pomerene Auxiliary lights up Christmas during tree festival

Pomerene Auxiliary lights up Christmas during tree festival
Dave Mast

With nearly two-dozen trees and many more wreaths and table centerpieces decorated and donated to the Pomerene Auxiliary Christmas Tree Festival, the organization was able to set a new high in funds raised during this year's event.


Pomerene Hospital in Millersburg has been a staple of community health for many decades, and each different department has its own budget to help create necessary means to support those who use the facility.

However, sometimes those funds can’t cover an item that is very much needed, which is where the Pomerene Hospital Auxiliary lends a hand.

The auxiliary has been an organization that has helped cover unexpected expenses or purchased needed equipment for many of the hospital’s departments, and Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7 at Berlin Grande Hotel, the annual Pomerene Hospital Auxiliary Christmas Tree Festival generated plenty of funds to allow the auxiliary to continue its work.

The Christmas Tree Festival featured dozens of decorated Christmas trees, wreaths and centerpieces, all of which were available for purchase.

The participating businesses and organizations that decorated the Christmas items took care to make decorations that were interesting and beautiful. The nearly two-dozen trees were on sale for anywhere from $150-$2,000 while the table decorations and wreaths were between $50-$400.

According to Cindy Yoder, volunteer services coordinator with the Pomerene Hospital Auxiliary, this year they experienced a big jump in the number of area businesses and organizations that chose to participate with the number of trees doubling to 22, more than a dozen wreaths and almost 30 centerpieces on display.

The increase in participation helped the auxiliary soar past last year’s total, and the event brought in more than $16,000 between the sales, raffle tickets and entry fee.

Patrons paid a $5 entry fee to attend the event, which allowed them to vote for their favorite tree, centerpiece and wreath. They could also partake in the food donated by Kaufman Bakery and Batter Up, as well as donations from other volunteers. Most importantly they could roam the area and purchase any item that was still for sale.

The event actually began Dec. 5 when the auxiliary presented its donor night, an evening that allowed the many people who donated items to come in and be the first to experience this slice of Christmas joy. By the end of the donor evening, 22 of the 77 pieces in the show had been sold.

“I am always amazed at the way the community brings in some pretty amazing decorations and Christmas trees for this show year after year and has such a willingness to show that kind of support for the Pomerene Auxiliary,” said Cindy Yoder, who headed up this year’s project. “We have been so blessed by the outpouring of support over the years, and this year has been really good.”

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.

Doug Burgess, general manager of Berlin Grande Hotel, said the event is one that brings the joy of Christmas out and helps to create an aura at the hotel. He said they were honored to be able to provide ample room for such a worthwhile cause.

Yoder said teaming up with the hotel was a perfect fit.

“They have been wonderful and accommodating to work with,” Yoder said of the hotel. “I think we have already put the wraps on coming back here again next year.”

In addition to the people’s favorites, there was a Judge’s Choice competition among the trees and wreaths. Twila Miller and Shelby Miller of Chance 2 Transport, one of the major sponsors for the event, were joined by Deb Bell of Hummel Insurance Group, and the three had to come up with winning entries among the many pieces.

The judges picked the First Federal wreath as Favorite Wreath, Holmes Power Equipment tree as Best Tree, Holmes County Pottery as Favorite Display and Oak Pointe Nursing & Rehab tree as Most Original.

Patrons also had a say in which decorations they thought were worthy of being honored as they cast votes for their favorites. The People’s Choice tree was the Walnut Hills Retirement Community tree, and the People’s Choice wreath was provided by Commercial & Savings Bank.

“They definitely had their work cut out for them because there was an incredible number of beautiful Christmas trees and wreaths here to pick from,” Yoder said of both the judges and the patrons.

It was an event that brought the spirit of the holidays together with an important fundraiser that will serve the Holmes County community well.

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