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Volunteers have their trees ready for the 12th annual Festival of Trees

November 20, 2006

Source: Malaspina University College

Their gluey fingers will be worth it once the enthusiastic BC Hydro Power Pioneers members see their finished Christmas tree at the Malaspina University-College Foundation’s 12th annual Festival of Trees starting Nov. 24.

The dedicated group of ladies have been spending nearly every Wednesday since the end of October creating handmade ornaments for this year’s submission – a decadent tree full of sparkling blue balls, a silver star topper, glittering blue energy efficient LED lights and handmade silver angels. The colours – blue and silver – strategically fit into the festival’s theme, Christmas in Paris.

The design was created by Power Pioneer member Louise Mason, who used an angel ornament her daughter-in-law gave her as the source of inspiration for this year’s tree.

"No matter what we do, we have fun," said Rene Sampson, provincial past president of the BC Hydro Power Pioneers.

"Aside from enjoying the finished product, which is always breathtaking, I enjoy the fun of doing it. It is always gratifying to know our tree has brought in funds for the foundation."

"I just enjoy the camaraderie of putting it all together and getting my fingers burnt by the glue gun," said Pat Morris, who has been involved in the Festival of Trees since it started, first as a volunteer, and now as a tree decorator with the Power Pioneers.

The BC Hydro Power Pioneers is a volunteer organization of retired BC Hydro employees and is sponsored by the corporation. The employees are dedicated to staying connected, involved and active in their communities through volunteer work and fundraising efforts. The Upper Island Branch, which includes every community between Duncan and Port Hardy, and west to Tofino and Ucluelet, has more than 300 members. There are more than 4,000 retirees province-wide.

The Power Pioneers are just one group in many that make the Festival possible.

This year the 12th Annual Festival of Trees kicks off with the sold-out Gala Dinner, Auction and Dance, Nov. 24, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. The festival evening includes a six-course "Dinner in Paris," prepared by the Malaspina University-College Culinary Arts students and live music by Howie and the Hot Rods.

The gala is followed by the Festival Lunch, Nov. 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This year’s Festival Family Days includes childrens’ activities, entertainment, photos with Santa, refreshments and goodies. Admission is by donation to the two family days, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is also by donation for the Festival Public Day, Nov. 26, noon to 5 p.m. and the Festival Seniors’ Day, Dec. 3, from noon to 5 p.m.

The Festival wraps up with the Festival Cocktail Party, Dec. 8, from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Festival of Trees attracts more than 3,000 visitors annually to Malaspina’s Nanaimo campus. Funds raised are used for student scholarships, awards and bursaries managed by the Malaspina University-College Foundation.

All Festival of Trees events take place at Malaspina University-College’s Nanaimo Campus, 900-Fifth Street in Building 300. Parking is free at all Festival of Trees events. For more information call 740-6258.


For more information contact: Toni O'Keeffe, Director of Communications & Public Relations. Phone (250) 740-6341; FAX (250) 740-6474; E-mail



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