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Gathering 'round the trees
Times photo: Brenda Steurer Sue Barrett arranges ornaments on Christmas trees Friday as they prepare for the annual Festival of Trees tonight at the Peppercorn Banquets and Catering Facility in Monroe. The event raises money for local nonprofit organizations.
MONROE - The trees were decorated with care in expectation that bidders soon would be there.

The Festival of Trees and Charity Auction has benefited local nonprofit groups since 1993, with the exception of 2007, when the event wasn't held. All proceeds from the festival go to the local organizations.

Every year, volunteers gather to decorate the trees to help raise money.

Some of the trees have many decorations, while some have less. But all have a unique style to brighten any home or business.

This year's event begins at 6 p.m. at Peppercorn Banquet and Catering Facility at Ludlow Mansion. Entertainment will be provided by the Monroe Theatre Guild Stage RIGHT youth choir.

Jan Benkert, who helped set up the trees and organize the event, said the festival has been a popular event in Monroe for many years.

This year, four organizations decorated trees and collected items for the silent auction.

The non-profit organizations taking part in this year's event are the Green County Humane Society, Green Haven Family Advocates and the Monroe Theatre Guild Stage RIGHT Youth Theatre.

Benkert said the decorated trees and the table centerpieces create an impressive holiday ambiance for the festival.