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Oh Christmas tree!

Festival proceeds to help fund pediatric asthma program

Festival proceeds to help fund pediatric asthma program

November 30, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Twinkling lights welcomed the Christmas season at the third annual Festival of Trees kickoff gala Wednesday night at Robinwood Medical Center.

Organizers hoped that this year's four-day festival would raise $25,000 said Sandy Pollack, executive director of Antietam Healthcare Foundation Inc.

Festival of Trees proceeds will go to establishing a pediatric asthma program at Washington County Hospital.

"There's nothing worse than watching a child struggle for breath," Pollack said.

Children who are taught to manage their asthma triggers are more successful in school, she said.

Asthma is one of the leading causes of illness for children, said Dr. Ruth Dwyer, chair of pediatrics at Washington County Hospital.

"It's beautiful," said Dwyer, and she pushed her son, Ivan, through the Festival of Trees in his stroller.

Festival-goers can place silent bids on the elaborately decorated trees and wreaths, and shop at the North Pole Limited gift shop.

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"It's the premier event celebrating Christmas in the community," said Michael Day, chairman of Antietam Healthcare Foundation Inc.

"It gives everybody a chance to participate," Day said.

Local businesses, civic groups and families sponsored trees, while designers and children's groups helped decorate them.

Carol & Company sponsored the tree awarded Best of Show. The Christmas tree, themed "For the Wine Enthusiast" held wine ornaments. Tucked underneath was a wine rack complete with several bottles of wine.

Several trees were decorated with patriotic themes, including "Red, White and Blue Christmas" and "Proudly Serving America."

Students from Eastern Elementary School wrote letters of support to military troops. The notes were tied to a tree sponsored by Ruth Anne and Art Callaham, themed "Wish Upon Our Troops."

Girls Inc. decorated a tree sponsored by AC&T in the spirit of the Grinch, complete with pages out of Dr. Seuss's famous story, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and large green cutouts of the Grinch's green, furry face.

"It gets everyone started off in the right spirit," said Robin Lyles, who has helped organize the festival for three years.

The Festival of Trees exhibit is open through Saturday. On Friday evening, the Maryland State Boychoir performs. On Saturday morning, children can have breakfast with Santa Claus.




If You Go...



Where: Robinwood Medical Center

When: Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: Adults, $5; ages 3 to12, $3; ages 2 and younger, free

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