'Feztival of Trees' helps Saint John Shriners raise money for charitable causes
The Luxor Shriners in Saint John are hoping all the snow the province received on Friday will put people in the Christmas spirit. They are holding a fundraiser to help finance all the organization’s charitable endeavors.
The “Feztival of Trees” is a catchy title, playing on the famous fez the Shriners are known for. There are 17 trees to check out with plenty of prizes for people holding the lucky tickets.
All of the trees in the Feztival are sponsored, decorated, adorned with gifts and will be won by some lucky souls who have their ballot drawn. Every cent will go to Shriners projects.
One of the main destinations will be to the well-known Shriners hospitals.
“We spend about $200,000 a year shipping kids to Montreal or Boston, whichever one is needed,” said Bill Harrington, Chief Rabban for the Shriners in New Brunswick.
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Coming up with that kind of cash has become more of a challenge with an increasing amount of deserving charities. Harrington recalls the days when Shriners would simply sell tickets for a car over a period of months.
“We used to raise over $100,000 dollars,” explained Harrington. “Now it’s tough to raise the price of a car which is $20,000 or $30,000.”
The Feztival in Saint John is complimented with a silent auction, as well as a gingerbread trail. It’s enough to make it a must-see event for both young and young at heart, including Cindy Devereaux who was taking in the event for a second consecutive year with her daughter.
“I found that she enjoyed looking at the Christmas trees and just the people that actually volunteer here are really friendly and nice so we just felt that we would make it a tradition,” said Devereaux.
With freshly fallen snow outside, it was as good a time as any to get into the spirit.
“It’s early in the season,” said Yvonne Richard. “Tonight’s the Santa Claus Parade, so it’s going to be a good day.”