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Kiwanis Christmas trees on the way to Trail

Trees will be sold at the former Zellers store at the Waneta Mall not the usual Butler Park venue
The Trail Smoke Eaters will again help unload Kiwanis Christmas trees, except his year it will be at a different venue. The trees will be sold at the former Zellers at the Waneta Plaza starting on Nov. 26. Photo: Jim Bailey

Kiwanis organizer Brian Pipes was the bearer of some welcome news on Thursday, he confirmed that the Christmas trees are coming.

“I made the phone calls last night, and the ones from the East Kootenay will be here, and the ones from Chilliwack will be trucked to Trail on Tuesday (Nov. 23),” said Pipes.

Pipes has had a difficult time finding cultured trees because of a dwindling supply due to COVID. Combined with the scorching summer, recent flooding and landslides on the Trans Canada and Hwy 3 that further disrupted the supply chain, and there was a lot of uncertainty the past week.

“It’s been a struggle, due to COVID a shortage of trees, the floods in B.C., the fires, everything. We’re going to try to keep the prices down, even if we break even, we’ll call it a success this year.”

Kiwanis brings in and sells more than 300 trees on average every year, but this holiday season will see one major change.

The trees will be sold out of the former Zellers store at the Waneta Mall. The usual venue, Butler Park, will be undergoing lighting and netting upgrades, so Kiwanis after an extensive search, was able to secure the space.

“Chris Vlanich was the one that got the Zellers location,” said Pipes. “He had help from Gina Ironmonger from the IncrEdible Farmers Market, and the Waneta Mall manager.”

Kiwanis partnered with Trail’s IncrEdible Farmers Market, which will host their winter market on Dec. 11 and 12 on the premises as well.

More than 75 vendors offering a variety of wonderful gifts will be on hand, for a one-stop Christmas shopping experience.

“It’s a win, win,” said Pipes. “It will help us out, and help the market out, and all the vendors in the mall as well.”

Despite recent tree shortages, the Kiwanis Club managed to find a supply and secure it, and has been performing the service for Greater Trail residents for more than 60 years.

Last year, during the pandemic, the trees sold out fast. There was a significant increase in demand with Kiwanis running out on Dec. 12.

Pipes says he thinks that the community can count on a good supply this year.

The Kiwanians bring in a variety of cultured fir trees such as Noble, balsam, Fraser, Cook, and Douglas, and even some jack pine for those who like a regular whorl in their tree.

Kiwanis also meets the greater demands of the City of Trail, and companies like The Josie and Teck, bringing in pre-ordered trees up to 22-feet long.

Kiwanis will also run a raffle, and there will be a day or two when kids will receive free hot dogs with a tree purchase, although details have yet to be worked out.

Money raised helps support over 30 charities and non-profit organizations in Greater Trail, and is dispersed in bursaries to many of the area’s graduating students.

“I would say, there is not a person or family in this town that has not benefited some way through the donations from Christmas tree sales, whether it is family, friends, or someone they know,” added Pipes.

Christmas trees will go on sale at the Waneta Mall site on Friday, Nov. 26.

Jim Bailey

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