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Arc of Rowan to host Festival of Trees this weekend

Festival of Trees

Ashton McJunkin poses with the S.O.A.R. Christmas tree as Joyce Loucks takes a photograph. Loucks works with McJunkin one-on-one at Rowan Cabarrus Community College in the S.O.A.R. program. Jon C. Lakey/Salisbury Post

Ashton McJunkin poses with the S.O.A.R. Christmas tree as Joyce Loucks takes a photograph. Loucks works with McJunkin one-on-one at Rowan Cabarrus Community College in the S.O.A.R. program. Jon C. Lakey/Salisbury Post

By Amanda Raymond

amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

Phyllis Loflin-Kluttz, the coordinator for the Rowan Senior Games, has been decorating trees for the Arc of Rowan Festival of Trees since the start.

This year, Loflin-Kluttz, Senior Games ambassador volunteers and volunteers from Moose Pharmacy were decorating a tree sponsored by Moose Pharmacy.

“We come together every year and half kill each other and decorate a tree,” she said, laughing.

The 12th annual Arc of Rowan Festival of Trees will be on display at the F&M Trolley Barn starting today.

The Festival of Trees fundraising event allows local community members, businesses and civic organization to sponsor a Christmas tree. Tree sponsors pay a fee to decorate a tree for the event. The sponsors can decorate their tree themselves or they can have the Arc of Rowan find a decorator for them.

The event is free to the public.

“We started out very small and have become quite a large community event,” Beth Foreman, chairwoman for the festival, said. She said many people said the event was the way their family starts the holiday season.

The Arc of Rowan, a United Way agency, is a community-based organization that helps care and advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Some of the trees were decorated with the usual decorations — lights, ornaments and ribbons. Other decorators decided to be a little more unconventional.

Loflin-Kluttz decided to decorate the Senior Games/Moose Pharmacy tree with two giant teddy bears and a framed picture of the different patches of fire departments. One bear was placed on top of the tree and had a firefighter helmet and turnout coat on.

“We just wanted to thank our firefighters of Rowan County for their bravery, dedication and service,” she said.

In previous years, there have been trees with the Grinch, Big Bird, and Minions.

“We’ve had some really wild trees that are just wonderful,” Loflin-Kluttz said.

Piedmont Players Theatre, decorating a tree sponsored by Wells Fargo, decided to bring the Wizard of Oz to the festival.

“One of our big shows this year at the Piedmont Players is “The Wizard of Oz,” so this is the ChristmOz tree,” Alison Veros, a Piedmont Players volunteer, said.

Josh Wainright, Piedmont Players marketing director, said they like to decorate their tree to represent an upcoming show. They’ve decorated trees for the Grinch, the Little Mermaid and Tom Sawyer.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, decorating a tree sponsored by the Signature Weight Loss and Wellness program from Concord, decorated a tree to represent S.O.A.R., a program for adults with intellectual disabilities or traumatic brain injuries, by turning their tree into a hot air balloon.

The SOAR program students and instructors created the decorations for the tree.

Jay Tayor, lead instructor for the north campus S.O.A.R. program, said the students made the ornaments for the tree.

“Every student made a mini-me of themselves to represent them, so that’s what the mini-me’s are on the tree,” he said.

“Every year it’s different. You can never predict what anybody’s going to do,” Shela Sapp, staff executive director for the Arc of Rowan, said.

Sapp said everyone who comes in to see the trees will get to vote for their favorite and a people’s choice award is given to the tree with the most votes.

The trees will be displayed through this weekend at the F&M Trolley Barn. Afterwards, the trees will be moved to a location within Rowan County that the sponsor chooses until the end of the season.

Foreman also said there would be a silent auction and raffle to raise money for the Arc.

The event is the only fundraiser the Arc of Rowan has to raise money for the organization.

Loflin-Kluttz said not only does the event bring attention to her organization, but it brings well-deserved attention to the Arc of Rowan.

“We’re all out here saying, ‘Well I hope people like my tree and vote for my tree,’ but I don’t want them to lose what the current fundraiser is really about because there are so many people within our community that need our help and our support,” she said.

The trees will be on display at the F&M Trolley Barn at 127 E. Liberty St. on the following dates:

  • Friday, Dec. 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 6 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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