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Public invited to gala, glittering display of trees to benefit hospital auxiliary

As many as 25 Christmas trees will be given tender, loving care by florists, craft shops and individuals, who will add creative touches to the trees that have been sold to area businesses to benefit the Sunnyside Community Hospital Auxiliary.

Decorating begins Nov. 13 at the Sunnyside Mini-Mall, where the trees will be shrouded in secrecy until they go on display at a gala event Friday, Nov. 18.

The evening of their unveiling will feature three hours of partying, which will include hot hors d' oeuvres catered by the hospital's dietary department, wine from area wineries, finger foods, holiday desserts and the raffling of as many as 50 prizes donated by area businesses.

Admission is $15 for the evening.

Those who bought the trees paid $250 each, and will receive delivery after the trees have been displayed for a week at the Mini-Mall.

"The hospital auxiliary uses the money to buy special hospital equipment and provide scholarships to those interested in going into the medical field," said Yolle Widdows-Guizar, auxiliary president, as well as welfare coordinator for the hospital.

"We try to match the trees to the businesses they'll go to," said Widdows-Guizar. "We choose what we feel will go well with a business. This year we have an origami tree designed by the Nippon Women, who were a main part of the original Furukawa Guild that started this tradition. It would go well in the library, perhaps donated by a business that doesn't need a tree on its premises."

Widdows-Guizar and Bill Flower, who owns the mall and makes it available free of charge for the decorating and the Festival of Trees, sold the trees this year.

"Oh yes, we've sold all of them already," she said. "We've been doing this for 10 years so we have it down to an art!"

The decorators who will turn the trees into true works of art will flood the mall, beginning Sunday, Nov. 13.

"The auxiliary gives each designer $50 to offset the cost of decorations," said Widdows-Guizar. "Some of the girls get very competitive and spend more. Two years ago we had a man decorator, a cook from the hospital, and he made some decorations.

"The designers will have five days to get the trees ready for the 18th. Some work, so they come in after 5 o'clock and spend a couple of hours and then come again the next night and they're done! And I practically live at the mall that week," said Widdows-Guizar.

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