Santa Paula Times

Bob Lasiter has a lot of cooking to do after winning the Peace Love BBQ tree at the November 8 Light Up the Season celebration held at the Community Center.

Light Up the Season tree raffle a
fun hit for guests, SCV Boys & Girls Club

November 28, 2014
Santa Paula News

With names such as Money Tree, Deck the Cars, Baby’s First Christmas and The Rancher & The Bling it was easy to see why there was a frenzy of raffle ticket buying at the 3rd Annual Light Up the Season celebration!

The unique event benefited the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley and drew more than 200 guests to the Community Center where they scrambled to put raffle tickets into the bags next to their favorite, 4-foot faux pines.

The November 8 luncheon featured an array of greeting cards designed by Club Kids and jingle bell necklaces available for purchase as well as an array of fine wines and other beverages. The latter were served by Santa’s Helpers, AKA Jeff Hobson, whose wife Tammy is the Past Chair of the B&GCSCV Board of Directors, and Bob Orlando, whose bride Becci is the founder, chair and busy designer of numerous Light Up the Season trees, a holiday celebration that this year drew more men and children than years past.

Michele Johns was considering each of the 25 trees on display but already had two favorites on her list, one basket filled with gourmet goodies and an elaborate coffee maker and “Frozen” tree decorated with items related to the hit film.

Last year Johns’ winning ticket allowed her to go home with a tree designed by Orlando that heavily featured elves and gnomes among its decorations and accessories. 

“I didn’t even have to put up a tree, it was so darling I just left it up for the holidays,” said Johns.

With their reputation of staging barbecues to benefit charities, it was no surprise when Santa Paula Reserve Firefighter/PIO Andy VanSciver said “That’s our basket!” as he pointed at the Peace Love BBQ tree that included the BBQ, tequila from Sam’s Saticoy Liquor and other fun stuff for the ultimate outdoor cooking experience.

Club Board Chairwoman Ari Larson welcomed the crowd and told of how she became involved in the club as well as the unconventional way it can also serve youth.

She said the B&GCSCV stepped up when a needy family was forced to relocate from Fillmore to Bakersfield, giving them a referral to a club in their new area.

“The mother later said they were able to travel to Bakersfield and feel that they were home,” due to the welcome they received and contacts they made at the new Boys & Girls Club. 

It might seem that Light Up the Season is staged, said Larson, “for fun, but we do really do this to help children ... “

Donna Nelson and the popular Isbell Middle School Condor Choir entertained and ventriloquist Christine Barger also treated the crowd to an interactive performance.

Orlando explained how the raffle would be conducted and thanked those that sponsored trees.

“We appreciate their support so much we’ll take a photo of each winner with the tree to send to our sponsors,” who supply their own decorated gift trees or donate a minimum of $250 to have the tree designed and dressed by others.

Peggy Kelly of Santa Paula and her granddaughter, 10-year-old Amber Grace Wineman of Newbury Park conducted the raffle of the 25 trees that lined the walls of the Community Center, each giving off soft light that showed off its themed ornaments and prizes. Some trees threw off magnificent light such as Birds of a Feather, a highly coveted prize with a peacock theme that showcased the birds and their rich colors in glassware, jewelry, cloth and other goodies.

Winners happily took a lot of ribbing, especially those that were going home with more than one spectacular tree; but the most kidded - and envied - Cathy Hicks of Santa Paula. Hicks won an unprecedented three decorated trees, including the Baby’s First Christmas tree, a fitting stroke of luck for the new first-time grandmother.

Whether Disney Princesses or male stars of animation, dogs and cats or cookies or aviation or lemons, bling and western flair, Light Up the Season had something for everyone from iPads to diamonds.

But the reason for the Light Up the Season remained the same: “The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley serves over 1,400 children in Fillmore, Piru and Santa Paula,” said Chief Executive Officer Jan Marholin. 

“Our children are our community’s most valuable assets. The Club provides them a safe place to go after school where they receive homework assistance, and participate in enrichment activities and programs that keep them physically active and increase their social skills.”

She noted that all proceeds of the celebration would be “used to provide essential services to the children we serve at nine sites in Fillmore and Santa Paula... and we thank you all for being a very special part in supporting our Positive Place for Kids!”

Cathy Hicks was the big winner at the 3rd Annual Light Up the Season holiday tree raffle benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley. Hicks, a new first-time grandmother, took home three decorated faux pines, including the Baby’s First Christmas tree.