BELLE FOURCHE –– The annual Belle Fourche Festival of Trees is a holiday marvel spreading Christmas cheer and donating approximately $348,000 to the community over the last two decades.
Mike Tyndall, Belle Fourche First Interstate Bank president, said the event is a great way to help those who are less fortunate.
“I think bringing the community together and having the opportunity to help others that are less fortunate than some of us,” he said about the spirit of the event.
The first festival was hosted in 2000, raising $5,485. Through 2018, the festival had raised approximately $348,000 over those 19 years. Tyndall said the last couple of years have been record-breaking, each bringing in between $36,000-$37,000.
Tyndall said that approximately 75 hours of volunteer time by the bank’s staff is spent organizing, calling, buying trees and wreaths, setting and cleaning up, and delivery of the trees. That estimate does not include the time spent by the decorators from the businesses and individuals who donate trees and wreaths for auction.
The event’s proceeds each year are donated to the Belle Fourche Senior Meal Program; Belle Fourche Compassion Cupboard Food Pantry, run by the Belle Fourche Ministerial Association; Imagination Library; and the Greater Belle Fourche Foundation, to assist the elderly, young children, and those most in need.
The event is held in the lobby of the First Interstate Bank in Belle Fourche.
“It’s getting to the point where it’s (the event is) almost outgrowing our bank,” he said.
This year’s event is scheduled for Dec. 5 and Tyndall said they’re expecting more trees for auction than usual.
“I think this year we’re expecting 18 trees which, in the past, we usually only have about 14 or 15,” he said.
Tyndall said the event is a great way to get people feeling the Christmas cheer.
“(An effort in) giving back to the communities that we live in and helping out those that are less fortunate during the holiday season and year-round,” he said. “I’m looking forward to a good turnout.”
The 20thBelle Fourche Festival of Trees will start with a social hour at 6 p.m. and the auction starting around 7 p.m. Belle Fourche First Interstate Bank is located at 41 Fifth Ave. on the north end of Belle Fourche.
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