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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Event raises funds, Christmas spirit

Thursday, November 8, 2001

Here, Camille Peters (left) and Michelle Worth put the finishing touches on the tree The First National Bank is donating.
SIKESTON - Dinner and magic. A chance to have your Christmas tree already decorated. And reaching out to women who could use a little help. Altrusa's "O' Christmas Tree" event has it all.

For the past three years the organization has hosted the benefit dinner and auction as a way of providing guests an evening of fun while raising money for various local causes.

Proceeds from this year's event will be used to benefit Altrusa's local projects as well as the House of Refuge for Abused and Battered Women.

The "O' Christmas Tree" festivities will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Sikeston Country Club. There will be a cash bar, allowing the ticket price to cover only the meal. A prime rib dinner will follow at 7 p.m.

Although Robin Dial says members are always excited about hosting the annual event, this year is especially meaningful as they celebrate the opening of the House of Refuge for Abused and Battered Women.

"We invite residents to come to our dinner and auction because it is for a good local cause," said Dial, president of Altrusa and a member of the House of Refuge's board of directors.

"Last year the shelter was not open and people were giving money and maybe were beginning to wonder if we were ever going to open. But we did open July 1 and we are servicing people so we really need the money now, worse than we did before. This event is a lot of fun. It is just a nice evening and kind of dressy so you have some place to go and dress up for, yet it's relatively inexpensive."

The evening will start with a silent auction of displayed items. Once this auction is closed after the meal, a live auction of large items will begin which will include things such as a trailer and white tail deer bow hunt.

At 8:30 p.m. the popular Christmas Tree Auction will begin, giving guests who find themselves with no spare time during the holidays a chance to have their Christmas tree decorated for them.

Various businesses and organizations decorate Christmas trees of all sizes to auction off. Some of the trees include Jeannie Williams' Disney tree, Enchantments' Humane Society tree, patriotic trees, a tree decorated by The First National Bank, another decorated by the ASTRA Club and Altrusa will have a Santa Claus tree for guests to bid on. There will be many others.

Guests are given a program which includes a description of each tree and where the money is going, giving them an opportunity to see what is available ahead of time.

"We have an auctioneer that actually comes in, it really is fun," Dial said, grinning. "And during the evening we play a couple of different things. We always play 'Last Card Standing' where we sell 52 cards out of a deck of cards for $5 a card and sometime in the night Bill Powers, our emcee, will get up and say everybody that bought a card stand up. He'll take a another deck of cards and shuffle them and call that card. If he calls something like the queen of hearts, then the person who has that card has to sit down. The person left standing wins a prize. That is really fun. We've also got a Christmas shopping raffle. We're only selling 100 tickets for $25 a piece and the winner will win $1,000. All the proceeds will go to the House of Refuge."

The entertainment planned for this year will be a bit different than in the past. Rather than a dance, guests will see a performance by The Magic Jeannie which will begin at 9 p.m.

"If you're involved in a club or in school you've seen Jeannie but if you're not, this will be a good chance to see her perform her magic," said Dial. "Plus, I think she'll help get us in the Christmas mood."

Music during the evening will be performed by members of the Sikeston High School Orchestra, under the direction of Gay French.

Invitations have been sent out to guests who have previously attended, and Dial urged anyone who would like to come this year or be placed on the invitation list to contact any Altrusa member, call Enchantments at 472-1909 or drop by the shop at 142 E. Front St.

Deadline is Saturday and no tickets will be sold at the door.

"I think the cause is what has made this so successful," remarked Dial. "Plus, in my case, it gets me going for Christmas because I see all these things and it gets me in the mood to start doing my Christmas shopping and start decorating my house. And it makes you feel good to know that you're helping someone else, I'm sure we will have clients in the house over Christmas."