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Trail Kiwanis Christmas tree fundraiser set for holidays

Kiwanis celebrates more than 70 years of raising charitable funds via annual Christmas tree sale
It’s beginning to look a lot more like Christmas as Santa’s elves, aka the Trail Smoke Eaters, all showed up at the Waneta Mall Sunday to unload a truck full of Douglas fir trees for the annual Kiwanis Christmas Tree sale. Photo: Jim Bailey

Trail Kiwanis has been sourcing Christmas trees for the Greater Trail community for over 70 years and counting.

This year, Kiwanis is celebrating everything local. The volunteer group sourced 350 premium Douglas fir trees from the Kootenay Tree Farm near Cranbrook and will be selling the holiday evergreens in the old Zellers building at the Waneta Plaza from Nov. 24 to Dec. 13.

“They have been a regular supplier for about 50 years,” said Kiwanis president, Chris Vlanich. “It’s the cultured trees that came in from Quebec, Nova Scotia, but the price of them and the whole economics of getting those trees in are not viable anymore.

“People are trying to save money now so it makes sense to stick with the local vendor support, and promoting the market.”

Kiwanis Christmas trees will be on site and share in the fun of Trail’s festive and incrEDIBLE markets, with the early-bird holiday market scheduled for the Trail mall on Saturday, Nov. 26 and Sunday, Nov. 27 and the last-minute market Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11. The Saturday events run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays the markets go 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Waneta Plaza will be a one-stop Christmas shopping destination for all holiday shoppers.

“It’s going to be a big event,” said Vlanich. “Gina Ironmonger (incrEDIBLE market volunteer) is the huge driver behind the whole affair, in cooperation with Michelle Gardner of Waneta Plaza. It’s a great opportunity for Kiwanis and local vendors.”

Residents can’t find a better deal or a more worthy cause than Kiwanis.

Trees start at $20 and all funds raised by the non-profit society are then invested back into the community.

“Buying trees from the local Kiwanis tree lot, you are supporting your local non-profit and the organizations that we give to.”

Last year Kiwanis gave over $10,000 to the local food bank, the elementary school’s meal program, and high-school scholarships. This year, Vlanich says, Kiwanis plans to donate the same amount to various organizations.

The Trail Smoke Eaters showed up at the Waneta Mall Sunday to unload a truck full of trees for the Kiwanis Christmas Tree sale. Photo: Jim Bailey
The Trail Smoke Eaters showed up at the Waneta Mall Sunday to unload a truck full of trees for the Kiwanis Christmas Tree sale. Photo: Jim Bailey

As for the trees, they are naturally harvested trees regenerated and grown among a mixed forest of trees of all ages. Kootenay Tree Farms use proven sustained growth methods of forest management, as well as agroforestry and silvopasture practices. The Natural Stand tree farm provides the forest with long-term benefits and ensures the sustained yield of excellent fresh and enduring trees.

The return to locally sourced trees is reminiscent of Kiwanis’ first foray into the forest. In the fall of 1949, a merry Kiwanis work party ventured on to D.B. Merry property in the Pend d’Oreille, while it was still accessible, and cut down a healthy supply of Christmas trees for the upcoming holidays.

These were stored in the end room of what was back then, the new Cominco Arena. When the snow had melted it was found that these trees were not as good looking as had been expected. However, Kiwanis sold them and it was decided that in future years they would buy trees from a commercial supplier.

The Kiwanis Christmas Tree sale starts Thursday, Nov. 24 and will go until Dec. 13 or until all trees are sold.

Jim Bailey

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