The Western Youth Network has reimagined its annual Festival of Trees event by putting a modern twist on the old-school telethon events.

WYN is hosting a two-hour virtual event starting at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 featuring a community talent revue, contests, prizes, an auction and opportunities for the public to give.

In the past, WYN has hosted the Festival of Trees at Chetola Resort, where the public would tour and bid on decorated trees and wreaths displayed in the ballroom. Though the organization has redesigned the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the community has rallied with support with more than 30 sponsors, and 20 tree and wreath designers.

Beginning Nov. 25, the public can view and bid on trees available on the auction site at various business locations around the community. For a list of locations and tree descriptions, visit tinyurl.com/FestivalofTreeLocations.

Anyone may bid on the decorated trees, and the auction closes at 8 p.m. on Dec. 3 during the telethon. Those who purchase an auction item, make a telethon pledge or donate at any level are entered into a drawing for the grand prize of “52 Weeks of Christmas” — a gift from the community for every week of the year including restaurant gift certificates, area attraction passes and many other gifts. Te grand prize is an estimated value of $3,000, according to WYN.

Those who pledge during the telethon will receive gifts ranging from designer wreaths, wreath kits, cookies and other items.

In years past, Festival of Trees has cumulatively raised more than $150,000 for WYN’s programs and services. WYN Executive Director Jennifer Warren said that this year’s Festival of Trees event will be the perfect opportunity for the community to get in the holiday spirit from the comfort of their home.

“The telethon will be packed with heartwarming stories, festive performances and plenty of ways to support local children, who are central to the holiday season,” Warren said. “We can’t wait to share this evening with you.”

This online event will feature performances by area musicians, dancers and theatre groups. The public is also encouraged to enter two sponsored Instagram contests featuring the “Most Festive Pet Photo” by Chetola Resort and the “Best Family Holiday Photo” by Carolina West Wireless. Prizes are awarded for the winners and will be announced during the telethon.

The telethon event may be viewed at youtu.be/Zd0nWMkHx1s. For more information about WYN, visit www.westernyouthnetwork.org. More information about Festival of Trees and the designers for this year’s event visit www.wynfestivaloftrees.com.

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