Greater Trail families can always count on the Kiwanis annual Christmas tree sale to kick off the holiday season.
This year, Kiwanis celebrates more than 60 years of tree sales, and will bring a healthy dose of Christmas cheer to families and the many local organizations that benefit from the fundraiser.
“We have the best trees you can get, and we try to get the best tree available for the best money,” says longtime Kiwanian Brian Pipes.
The Canadian-grown trees arrived on Wednesday and will be up for sale Friday, Nov. 27 at Butler Park with about 650 trees in this year’s inventory.
The Trail Smoke Eaters will once again help the Kiwanis unload the trees, and give their portion to Trail Transit’s Stuff the Bus campaign in support of the Salvation Army.
In a normal year, Smoke Eaters fans brought food, clothing and donations to a November Smokies game, and stuffed a transit bus at the Trail Memorial Centre until it was overflowing.
“Since we are not allowed to have fans in the arena so far this year, the Smoke Eaters still wanted to help with this incredible community fundraiser and that is why we will be putting forth the donation received from the Kiwanis Club to the Stuff the Bus campaign,” said Smoke Eaters head of marketing, Allison McCarthy.
As Covid continues to have an impact, Kiwanis requests that visitors to Butler Park respect protocols, maintain social distancing and wear masks while searching for the perfect tree.
“It will be different inside Butler, we have to rearrange things a little bit to make sure everyone is distanced six feet, and we’ll have to limit the number of people in the park,” said Pipes. “All the workers there, all the Kiwanians and helpers will be wearing masks.”
And for seniors, Kiwanis is offering a special service, providing free delivery for those trees without adequate transportation. Also, every person who purchases a conifer will be entered to win a draw for a number of gift certificates.
At its height, Kiwanis sold up to 2,000 tannenbaums, but competition from big box stores and a shortage of trees has driven prices up slightly and demand down.
“It’s down considerably over just five years ago,” said Pipes. “I think if we didn’t have the competition – there’s room for roughly 1,000 trees (to sell) – for every tree that Safeway and Walmart sell, that’s one less tree that we do.”
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.
Kiwanis members will be at the East Trail park, selling trees Monday to Thursday, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.