STURGIS –The 25th annual Festival of Trees was hosted by First Interstate Bank (FIB) on Friday, raising an all-time record of just over $52,000. The funds will be split between, Home Plus Hospice of the Northern Hills and the Greater Sturgis Area Foundation (GSAF). This year’s event featured outstanding food and beverages, 85 live auction items, and a large number of silent auctions items. A video was shown that highlighted many of the individuals that decorated trees, provided wreathes or quilts, and why they do it, and the video also was a tribute to Elwood Dietrich, a long time Sturgis resident.  

The Greater Sturgis Area Foundation sponsored a tree that was decorated by Karen Lynass, and was the top selling tree, which sold for $4,700 to a local excavating company.

Rosemary Roth was honored for her efforts in organizing the ‘Festival of Trees since 1994.  “Many people here tonight want to honor her and say what a beautiful thing she has done for our community,” said Susie Payne. Roth was presented 25 gifts in appreciation for her dedication to the festival.  

Jerry and Pat Casteel, the auctioneer and staff, were thanked as they also have been there for all 25 years.

A check of nearly $4,000 will be presented to the Sturgis Kiwanis food pantry, which came from FIB employees and the admission proceeds from the event.   

“A tree was made in loving memory of Bubba and his dog Tonka, and we decided it was time for a ‘Woof’ tree,” said Donna Jacobsen.  The tree was decorated with many dog treats and toys and sold for over $1,000 during the live auction. 

Adam Karrels, the master of ceremonies offered, a toast to the decorators and commented there are three ingredients for success of the event: First Interstate Bank, the decorators, and all of the bidders. “This evening is not a success without all three ingredients and you all are here because you get it, you know what it means to be part of a community,” Karrels said.    

The GSAF has awarded nearly $500,000 to local charities, supporting countless organizations from the Senior Center to the Arts Council and the Food Pantry, to name a few. Last year, the Foundation completed its commitment of $75,000 which made it possible for the fireplaces, televisions, and the Monahan Sculpture  at Rally Point. Most recently, the Foundation donated $50,000 to connect the Black Hills Trails to the City of Sturgis, making it possible for Sturgis residents and visitors from all over to walk, hike, and bike this beautiful Black Hills treasure.

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