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Yule Be Helping

Festival of Trees raises cash for CCHS’ annual PromFest

DIAMOND, Ill. — Dozens of decked-out Christmas trees will be on display today and tomorrow in Diamond as part of an annual fundraiser for Coal City High School’s post-prom event.

According to PromFest Committee members Deb Pearcy and Shannon Manietta, the event, the Festival of Trees, is marking its 10th year in 2012.

The two women, who are both Coal City residents and parents of CCHS students, were putting the finishing touches on the displays, which opened Friday night at Diamond Banquet Hall, located at 55 S. Daley Street.

This year, the festival features themed Christmas trees for everyone in the family, from Chicago Bears fans to Hello Kitty collectors. Attendees can purchase raffle tickets and put them in buckets in front of the display they hope to take home with them.

“Basically, this is our main fundraiser to pay for the after prom, which we call PromFest,” Pearcy said.

The Festival of Trees continues today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the banquet hall. Raffle tickets for the trees and other items are one ticket for $1, six tickets for $5, and 25 for $20.
In addition to the raffle drawings, the festival includes entertainment ranging from student musical groups to local dance companies.

Santa Claus will be visiting the festival to meet with children — he’ll be on hand from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

This year, a mix of 43 featured items, most of which are decked-out Christmas trees, are part of the raffle. The non-tree stations include a Kindle Fire, an Xbox 360, outdoor decorations, and even a television. The drawing for the raffles will take place at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Pearcy and Manietta said they anticipate anywhere from 500 to 900 people to attend, and expect to raise about $8,000 for Coal City High School’s PromFest, which helps keep costs down for students who want to attend.

Pearcy said the items for the raffle this year are eclectic in their range.

“From the Christmas trees to the TV and Xbox 360, there’s something for the kids to the adults,” she said

Pearcy said PromFest is a safe, fun experience for students. The event will be held at Odyssey Fun World in Tinley Park, which offers everything from laser tag, bumper cars and arcade games to activities outdoors, if the weather permits.

“It’s the alternative for the kids not to go out drinking and driving and doing anything illegal after prom,” she said.

Manietta said because the students are shuttled out to the PromFest location and back in chartered coach buses, it also cuts down on students out on the roads late at night.

Overall, she said, the mission of PromFest is close to her heart as a parent.

“We believe it’s a worthy cause,” she said.

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