By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Mrs. Ernest’s Kindergarten class in Caledonia and Miss Ernest’s Pre-Kindergarten class at Lincoln get help from Dave Ernest to reach the high parts of the tree.

Editor

The Belvidere Hometown Christmas Tree Decorating Contest began at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 5, at the Community Complex Building at 111 W. First Street. Sponsored by the local branch of the 4-H Federation, this year’s event included 102 freshly cut Christmas trees.

“It’s awesome for people receiving trees and awesome for everyone decorating the trees. We have just over a hundred trees this year, all going to families in Boone County,” said Kris Hall of the 4-H Foundation. “We have a lot of generous people – organizations, family members, private individuals, and clubs who will sponsor a tree. It is a wonderful way to start the Christmas season in our community.

“We have been doing this contest for about 26 or 27 years. Some years we are looking for families who need a tree and some years we are looking for sponsors to decorate a tree, but this year it all came together quickly.

“We have some families and organizations for whom this event has become a tradition. They return year after year to decorate or help out in one way or another. We have people who come early in the day to unload the fresh trees, untie them, trim the bottom of the trunk, place the trees in a stand with water, and position them around the room. It’s a fun event to gather the community together. The trees will all be decorated tonight. It’s a spectacular production. Everyone does a wonderful job of decorating.”

After the contest has concluded, these trees are all going, complete with decorations and presents, to less fortunate families in Boone County. Rules for decorating the tree includes lights, decorations, and a tree skirt, with no flocking allowed.

Once the trees are decorated, a ‘spare change’ bucket is placed by each tree and everyone can vote for the tree they like best by placing their change in the bucket. The winner will be the tree with the most money collected. The money will be used to purchase gifts for…

For complete article, pick up the Dec. 20 Belvidere Republican.