STAWELL - This year's Stawell Christmas Tree Festival received wonderful support with about 450 people passing through the doors of the Stawell Entertainment Centre during the weekend-long event.
Shops and businesses provided cash and voucher prizes worth more than a thousand dollars, and the forty-two Christmas trees, ten Christmas mantlepieces, nine Christmas wreaths and seventeen handmade cards created a spectacular display.
The major sponsor for the 2013 festival was the Northern Grampians Shire Council, and the Stawell Entertainment Centre was an excellent venue for the display.
The judges, Margaret Bates and Kath Ashton found it very difficult to select the winner for the $25 prize in each section.
On Saturday morning Katie Raatz and her helpers organised a Christmas craft workshop for children who were attending the festival.
More than fifty children joined in making Christmas Bonbons, mini Christmas wreaths and other small Christmas novelties.
The Saturday program drew to a close with about 50 people singing carols accompanied by the Stawell Brass Band.
Members of the Stawell Interchurch Council shared readings and prayers between some of the carols.
On Sunday afternoon the Stawell Entertainment Centre was packed with more than 100 people listening to the enchanting music as the Handbell Ringers of Horsham played carols and other Christmas music. The Stawell Kaleidoscope singing group also kept the crowd spellbound with their beautiful voices and wonderful harmony.
The Festival Planning Committee was thrilled with the response to the 2013 Christmas Tree Festival.
It will enable the church to continue to provide support for the Stawell Chaplaincy Program, the Stawell Interchurch Welfare Program and the Primary Schools Religious Education program.
The committee thanks everyone who helped to make it a wonderful weekend, and looks forward to planning an even bigger festival for the 10th Stawell Christmas Tree Festival which will be held on the 29th and 30th of November, 2014.
See a collection of photos from the event at our photo gallery here: http://bit.ly/1blBFem.
Results (Judges' choice)
Large Christmas Tree sponsored by Westway Nursery: Phyllis Pipkorn (A7); Novelty Christmas Tree sponsored by the Brix Hotel: The Pickers Market (B4); Tree with a Christian message sponsored by the Gift Hotel: Stawell Uniting Church (C3); Miniature Christmas Tree sponsored by AMCAL Pharmacy: Lynn Pitcher (D3); Miniature Novelty Christmas Tree sponsored by Pyke's Pets & Cycles: Gwen Young (E2); Decorated Christmas Mantlepiece sponsored by the Gifted Wombat: Marg Hutton and Eline Beelitz (F5); Decorated Christmas Mantlepiece with a Christian Theme sponsored by the Trackside Bistro: Karen Jenkins (G2); Decorated Christmas Wreath sponsored by Monaghan's Real Estate: Betty Gross (H2); Fully handmade Christmas Wreath sponsored by Stawell Panels & Paint: Val Mansfield (I1); Christmas Tree decorated by a child sponsored by Pet Stock, Stawell: Alyssia and Kobe Jenkins (J5); Handmade Christmas Cards sponsored by the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame, Stawell McDonald's Restaurant and Stawell Subway: First - Miranda from Stawell West Primary School, Second - Shauna from Stawell Primary School, Third - Jessica from Stawell West Primary School.
Almost two hundred and fifty people recorded their votes to select a second set of winning trees, mantelpieces and wreaths.
In many sections the voting was extremely close, with only one or two votes separating the top two or three exhibits.
Results (Popular vote)
Large Christmas sponsored by Stawell Taxis: Stawell Agricultural Society Ladies Committee (A3); Novelty Christmas Tree sponsored by Eleanor Clark Furniture: Karen Jenkins (B5); Tree with a Christian message sponsored by Clark's Furniture and Bedding: the Simpkin family (C2); Miniature Traditional Christmas Tree sponsored by Stawell Catnip: Amy Riches (D1); Miniature Novelty Christmas Tree sponsored by Hemley's Smash Repairs: Betty Gross (E2); Decorated Christmas Mantlepiece sponsored by Grampians Mobility: Stawell Agricultural Society Ladies Committee (F1); Decorated Christmas Mantlepiece with a Christian Theme sponsored by Mitre 10 Stawell: Katie Raatz (G1); Decorated Christmas Wreath sponsored by Raynor's Mini Market: Jo Bertram & Jenny Gavin (H3); Fully handmade Christmas Wreath sponsored by Mitre 10 Stawell: Val Mansfield (I1); Christmas Tree decorated by a child sponsored by PETStock, Stawell: Uniting Church KUCA group (J3).