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Sturgis celebrates 23rd Festival of Trees |

Sturgis celebrates 23rd Festival of Trees

STURGIS — From Trolls and trains to gingerbread and gumdrops, the lobby of First Interstate Bank in Sturgis is filled with colorful creations set to go on the auction block Friday.

The Festival of Trees, a fundraiser for Sturgis area non-profits, is in its 23rd year. During that time, more than $100,000 has been raised, says long-time organizer Rosemary Roth.

This year two people who were so instrumental in supporting this event from its inception will be absent. Both Gary Lippold and Terry Setera, Sturgis businessmen who died this year, could be counted on year after year to buy trees or wreaths or other creations during the annual Festival of Trees.

“Terry always bought stuff and his wife, Jeanne, made stuff for the auction. They were among the first businesses to really embrace this project and let others know how great it was,” Roth said.

Lippold also was a grand supporter of the Festival of Trees.

“He was here every year and bought a tree,” she said.

Both appreciated that proceeds from the auction supported the Hospice of the Northern Hills. Ironically, both men spent time in hospice before succumbing to cancer.

“This year they both needed hospice. It has come full circle,” she said.

Roth said there would be a special toast to the two during the event Friday.

On the auction block at this year’s festival will be 19 ornately decorated trees along with hand-stitched quilts, a holiday dinnerware set, wreaths and much more.

Individuals, groups, and businesses from around the area volunteered to decorate the trees, wreaths and various other holiday items. They set them up in the lobby late last week and this week people have come into the bank to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of the creations.

Roth says the designers exceed her expectations annually.

“I can never, ever say enough about these decorators,” she said. “You can’t thank them enough. They are so committed to what they do and believe whole-heartedly in what the funds raised are used for.”

Half the proceeds of the auction items go to Hospice of the Northern Hills and half goes to the Greater Sturgis Area Foundation Permanent Endowment Fund. Also, 100 percent of the proceeds of the ticket sales go to the Sturgis Kiwanis Food Pantry.

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