Trees for a cause at The Halle in Apex

aramos@newsobserver.comDecember 12, 2013 

  • Want to bid on a tree?

    To bid, go to The Halle Cultural Arts Center at 237 N. Salem St., Apex. Winners will be notified Friday, Dec. 20.

    To learn more about how to help the Western Wake Crisis Ministry, go to www.wwcm.org or call 919-362-0657.

— New York City’s Rockefeller Center may have one giant tree, but The Halle Cultural Arts Center has more than a dozen.

Of course, they aren’t as big as the city’s mammoth spruce visited by thousands, but they have their own charms – and prizes.

This is the sixth year for the art center’s Christmas Tree Exhibit and Auction, which raises money for Western Wake Crisis Ministry.

With about 18 trees on display, it’s also one of the largest exhibits in the event’s history, saidRenee Anderson, programs and marketing specialist for The Halle. Anderson started the auction.

Businesses, civic groups, and schoolchildren decorate and sponsor trees or wreaths with everything from lights to $50 gift cards and scratch-off lottery tickets.

The trees and wreaths are available for bid. Winners get the tree with all of its decorations and prizes.

One tree by KidzArt has miniature paintings nestled within its branches. The Rusty Bucket, a downtown Apex store, has a tree with books, CDs, and locally made crafts.

Even the town’s police, fire and EMS departments have gotten into the holiday spirit. They went in together on a trio of wreaths that form a snowman called “Frosty the Public Safety Worker.”

Apex Girl Scout Troop 1849 is also doing its part. The troop of fifth-graders created their own wreath out of crayons for the auction.

“A lot of them have visited the Western Wake Crisis Ministry with their schools,” said troop leader Amy McClain of Garner. “They know they are doing something to help the people who need it.”

The auction started Nov. 22 and ends Thursday. Winners will be notified Friday.

Each year, the auction raises more than $1,500 for Western Wake Crisis Ministry, Anderson said.

The nonprofit provides food, employment counseling and emergency financial aid for rent and utilities for those in need. The ministry helps about 350 families each month, according to the group’s website.

Anderson came up with the idea for the tree exhibit in 2008 – the year The Halle opened. Staff was looking for a creative way to decorate the arts center for its first Christmas season.

“At the time, we were trying to establish relationships with businesses,” Anderson said. “We thought, why not let them advertise, and then we thought, why not donate the money to the Western Wake Crisis Ministry?”

Each year, the exhibit has a different theme. This year’s theme is “Babes in Toyland.”

“People have come up to me and asked, ‘When are the trees going up?’” Anderson said. “That’s when you know it’s become a tradition.”

Ramos: 919-460-2609; Twitter: @AlianaCaryNews

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