LEAD — The annual Homestake Opera House Festival of Trees auction will be held entirely online this year.

Opera house officials announced this week that bids for the 21 trees, wreaths, and a plethora of silent auction items available for the 38th annual Festival of Trees will be taken online. Homestake Opera House board president Linda Wiley said the decision was made in an effort to honor social distancing guidelines and keep the public safe.

“We feel that with our restriction of people that can come into the opera house and with the ability to social distance in seating and everybody wearing masks, that we can continue to do shows,” she said. “But with the more open mingling of the Festival of Trees it didn’t work out. We just didn’t want to risk our patrons.”

The event has been a Christmas tradition and a major fundraiser for the opera house for more than three decades. Wiley said she is thankful for the many donations of trees, wreaths and silent auction items, and that the opera house can still host the event online. Some of this year’s silent auction items will include a hand quilted table runner; an early 1900s “Take Home” liquor jug; a signed and numbered print by Shaila Peterson; and a page of sheet music that is signed by the original cast of “Hamilton.”

In addition to the auction items, patrons can purchase three new fixed price items from the Web site, including a glass ornament of the proscenium angels, as well as black and white and colored prints of the opera house.

Trees and wreaths that will be up for auction can still be viewed during normal operating hours, at various locations around Lead and Deadwood. Sponsors and locations that are hosting trees this year include the Lead and Deadwood Area Chambers of Commerce, the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor’s Center, Bloomers Flowers & Cakes in Central City, Deadwood Eyecare, Deadwood City Hall Commissioners’ Chamber, Christian Ministry Center, Ace Hardware, First National Bank, and Miners and Merchants Trading Post. Trees can also be viewed through the Main Street window at the Homestake Opera House and the Lead-Deadwood Arts Center.

According to an opera house statement, all items in the auction will include an estimated value and a starting bid, with an incremental bid increase. Bidding will begin at 10 a.m. Dec. 7, and will continue until it is officially cut off at 6:59 p.m., Dec. 10. The bidding will be done through One Cause, an organization that specializes in auctions for non-profit organizations.

Patrons who wish to view and place bids for the Festival of Trees Auction can register at http/bidpal.net/hohfot2020.

Though this auction will be held online, the opera house is also planning to host live Christmas shows this year. Wiley said they are confident that social distancing can be accomplished during normal shows, since theater seating can be easily managed, and patrons are required to wear masks. The opera house will host “A Celtic Christmas Concert” with Maggie in the Meantime at 7 p.m., Nov. 28. Additionally, the opera house will host “A Christmas Carol” music and narration by Flower and Flame at 2 p.m. Dec. 19.

For more information or to purchase tickets for these events, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/o/homestake-opera-house-30907116897.

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