Annual tree sale may be a sell-out



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December 09, 2009
The Gilford Rotary Club has held its annual tree sale since 1986, and almost every year they sell out of Christmas trees, and hot corn chowder too, as families prepare for the holiday season.

The annual tree sale started last Friday, after a truck came in with dozens of premium trees freshly cut only days before. During day two of the tree sale, located on the Winnipesaukee crossing by the Lowe's complex last Saturday, holiday enthusiasts were pleasantly surprised by the first official snowfall.

Santa Claus may also make an appearance or two for the kids, said Rotary member John Goodhue. He said complimentary hotdogs, corn chowder, and hot chocolate would also be available at the sale, along with free raffle entries and 25 different raffle items.

Carolyn Scattergood, Gilford Rotary member since 1986, said she has helped to sell Christmas trees for over 20 years. Scattergood said Rotary profits always go to local projects and charities.

"This is our largest fundraiser. We picked up trees yesterday from Dana Blais (of Hidden Meadows Tree Farm) in Bath, NH. They have been supplying our trees for eight to 10 years," said Scattergood.

She said that all the trees are New Hampshire natives and that most of them were only cut last Tuesday and delivered Thursday, meaning the trees were still in mint condition. Scattergood said club members plan to hold their sale until all the trees sell out, and she estimated that the sale will be closed down by next Sunday, Dec. 13.

"We almost always sell out. If there are any left over, we donate them to the Carry House or Vincent de Paul. Somewhere else they can use the trees," said Scattergood. "We like to give money back to the community."

She said that one of the biggest draws is not only the freshly cut trees and homemade wreaths, decorated and plain, but the hot food, especially the corn chowder that families come back for every year. Scattergood said that the children love to come back and visit Santa as well, who will most likely make an appearance next Saturday.

She said that the annual tree sale is not only one of the Rotary Club's biggest events, but one of their favorite events this time of year.

"All the members help sell trees. We all just have a great time and wish everyone a merry Christmas," said Scattergood.

She noted that many familiar faces come back year after year to buy a tree since it has become a holiday tradition among many locals. The club makes sure to notify residents, said Scattergood, with a large mailing list and a chance to enter in a raffle. She said members and visitors enjoy the raffle as well, filled with goodies thanks to local merchants and Rotary members.

Brenda Smith and her son Adam Smith from Laconia said they came to the annual tree sale last year as well, but the trees were sold out by the time they got there. They made sure to come early this year, said Brenda Smith, who dropped by after she saw Rotary members unloading a truck of trees. Smith said she also wanted to beat the snow this year, although she only beat it by a few hours.

The Rotary Club recently held their annual Raymond Wixon Senior Citizen Dinner and will be hosting an event at the Gilford Community Church within the next few weeks.

Gilford Rotary Club proceeds from events such as the annual tree sale go to local funds and organizations such as St. Vincent, the high school Interact Program, local sports programs, and youth leadership programs.

The tree sale will be held from 8 a.m. 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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