By on January 9, 2013





The tree decorated by members of the Osoyoos Arts Council was named the best decorated tree during the third annual Nk’Mip Festival of Trees. The winner was announced Monday night at Spirit Ridge Spa and Resort. On hand for the ceremony were (from left) arts council secretary Liz Ganton, Spirit Ridge events and meeting co-ordinator Jennifer Zaijka, Spirit Ridge guest services manager Jennifer Busmann and arts council board member Marge Trosky. Photo by Keith Lacey.

It took the helping hands of numerous local artists to claim the top prize in the annual Nk’Mip Festival of Trees.
The tree decorated by members of the Osoyoos Arts Council was selected the winner during a special presentation Monday night at Spirit Ridge Spa and Resort.
Liz Ganton, the secretary for the arts council, and Marge Trosky, a board member and president of the Osoyoos Quilters Guild, were on hand to accept the top award as presented by Jennifer Zaijka, meeting and events co-ordinator for Spirit Ridge.
More than 2,500 visitors attended the third annual festival from late November until the first week of January.
This year’s event helped raise more than $13,000 for the B.C. Children’s Hospital and the South Okanagan Children’s Charity.
Just over $9,000 was raised by corporate sponsorship as 36 local businesses participated in this year’s event. Members of the public were also asked to donate two dollars every time they voted on their favourite tree and they could also donate two dollars to guess how many lights were hanging from the Tree of Hope, a huge 50-foot tree located outside the main entrance to the hotel at Spirit Ridge.
At the end of the festival, more than $9,000 was raised for the B.C. Children’s Hospital and just over $4,200 was raised for the South Okanagan Children’s Charity.
The winning tree helped raise $1,450.
Numerous members from the arts council contributed to this worthwhile effort, said Ganton.
“We’re an umbrella group for roughly 10 local arts organizations and I think we had a contribution from virtually every one of our member groups in helping decorate the tree,” she said. “We had members from our quilters group, local writers, photographers, our children’s arts group, the art gallery board itself … it was a real team effort.”
The theme for decorating the winning tree was “Christmas is for kids.”
After placing third the year before, it was thrilling to be named the winner, said Trosky.
“We had a lot of people from the arts council get involved and everyone took their job seriously and we ended up with a beautiful tree that obviously a lot of people liked,” she said. “There were so many gorgeous trees in this year’s competition and to win the top prize is a real honour.”
The Nk’Mip Festival of Trees has helped raise in excess of $50,000 for these two worthy organizations in three short years, which is a testament to the excellent support from local businesses who sponsor trees and members of the community who show up in droves during the festival, said Zaijka.
The goal for next year is to get even more businesses involved, raise more money and have more people attend the Festival of Trees, she said.
Finishing in second spot was the tree decorated by Osoyoos Credit Union ($1,160 raised), while the tree decorated by staff at Interior Savings and Luna Del Sol finished in third place ($540 raised). The tree decorated by Beyond Beauty placed fourth ($360 raised), while the tree decorated by Buy-Low in Osoyoos finished fifth ($350 raised).

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