Event to raise money for Rising Star educational program

Lakewood Center Associate president Joann Frankel and past-president and current board member Jeanne Denton can haby: BARB RANDALL - Joann Frankel, left, president of the Lakewood Center Associates, and Jeanne Denton, past president and current board member, show some of the ornaments they will use to decorate a tree that will be auctioned at the Lakewood in Lights gala Dec. 3. The tree will include more than 100 books, which  the women hope will be donated with the tree to a women's or children's center or hospital.rdly contain themselves with excitement — they are just about as giddy as children on Christmas morning.

And it’s all because of the cool design they’ve dreamed up to decorate a holiday tree to be auctioned off at the Dec. 3 Lakewood in Lights gala.

“We had an idea last year,” said Frankel. “We wanted to do something special at this year’s gala to mark Lakewood Theatre Company’s 60th anniversary. We’ve decorated trees in the past with toys all around. We wanted this to be all about the children and asked ourselves how can we make it a living tree? The idea literally came to us while we were driving to the flower market to buy decorations: we would make a living library to live with the tree!” The Lakewood Center Associates’ tree will be decorated along the theme that “Reading is a Gift.”

“A book is a gift that becomes more valuable when you share it,” said Denton. “This tree will be decorated with pinwheels and lollipop ornaments and more than 100 books that will go with the tree to its final destination.”

“What a wonderful way to spread holiday magic everywhere!” said Lakewood board member Linda Brown of buying one of the decorated trees at the gala. “There are five holiday trees that will be auctioned off at the event. The buyers buy them in the oral auction and the trees are delivered the next day where ever they want. Most people have them delivered to women’s and children’s shelters or senior centers. So if you choose to purchase a tree and then have it delivered to a charitable organization, the tree travels to its destination with a plaque stating the sponsor of the tree and the donor. So that means the tree goes to an organization that benefits and you get to write off the purchase and benefit from the public relations during the holiday season. The money stays in the community and everyone benefits!”

Besides the five festive trees, a raffle will be held for a wine getaway for three couples with a retail value of $3,000. The prize includes a winemaker’s dinner for six, one night’s accommodations for three couples at a villa at De Ponte Cellars Vineyard in Dundee, a chauffeured tour of nearby wineries and breakfast with a winemaker from De Ponte Cellars Winemaker.

Tickets for the raffle are $10 each or three for $25. Proceeds benefit Lakewood Theatre Company’s Rising Star Program, which provides education and performance opportunities for young actors.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the Lakewood Center.

Tickets to Lakewood in Lights are $50 per person, $35 of which is tax deductible. Tickets include hearty hors d’oeuvres and entertainment by many Lakewood favorites.

Call the Lakewood Center for the Arts box office at 503-635-3901 to purchase raffle and admission tickets.

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