By Chris Bavender
The Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County’s eighth annual Festival of Trees will is at 6 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel, 11925 N. Meridian St., Carmel. The evening includes dinner, a keynote speaker and a silent and live auction including custom-themed Christmas trees, wreaths and table centerpieces, each hand decorated by local designers.
Event coordinator Kim Harden started the event for Good Samaritan after conducting a similar event in Anderson. Proceeds benefit holiday assistance for those in need, providing items such as clothing, food and gifts for the children
“I thought we needed to start this in Hamilton County, and I have known Nancy (Chance, Good Samaritan executive director) for years and loved what she did,” Harden said. “We tried it and it worked. We made about $7,000 that first year, so we said let’s keep doing it. We raised a little over $70,000 in 2019.”
The event is personal for Harden. She knows what it’s like to wake up Christmas morning without gifts under the tree.
“I was one of those poor kids who grew up without Christmas. We celebrated it, but we just didn’t have any money,” she said. “I can remember one Christmas we had nothing to open, and the week after we were back in school, we got home and there were gifts on the couch and suddenly we had Christmas. I don’t want kids waking up without any Christmas. That was the worst thing ever.”
For the first time, Festival of Trees will have a sponsor. The sponsor is Spencer Farm and Spencer Farm Winery.
Although the silent and live auctions will feature a variety of items, the themed trees decorated by area designers are the showcases of the event. The trees average 5 feet to 7 1/2 feet tall and are delivered to the buyer’s home.
Harden is among the featured designers. Her previous themes included a fireplace mantel with stockings, polar bears, Colts and a snowman family. Each designer names their tree.
“This year my theme is ‘Land that I love,’” she said. “It’s an all red, white and blue theme.”
Harden said the event is an ideal way to help those in need in the community.
“Just helping people in Hamilton County since all the funds stay here,” she said. “You are helping families we are living with and doing life with. Plus, who doesn’t like Christmas?”
The cost is $75 per person. For more, visit gsnlive.org/festival-of-trees.