Festival of Giving

Santa Claus, who looks suspiciously like Mark Hansen, a Magic Valley Festival of Giving board member, hugs Melissa Crane, marketing and sales director of Magic Valley Arts Council, while presenting her with the Best of Show award for the MVAC's Christmas tree display Wednesday at Southern Idaho Landscape Center in Filer. Twenty-six nonprofits received a total of nearly $210,000 from this year's fundraiser.

MYCHEL MATTHEWS, TIMES-NEWS

FILER — Magic Valley Festival of Giving handed out awards and checks totaling nearly $210,000 to 26 local nonprofits Wednesday at Southern Idaho Landscape Center.

That’s 20 percent more than was raised last year, event coordinator Ann-Pell Rongen said.

The big winners this year were the Boys and Girls Clubs of Magic Valley ($12,403), Hospice Visions ($11,796) and Santa’s Cause ($11,589).

The goal of the festival is to give back to the Magic Valley, Rongen said. The nonprofits receive 100 percent of the gross proceeds.

The four-day event, held in November every year, partners nonprofits and charities with business sponsors to create a festive fundraiser, including the Gala of Giving, Sip & Savor, a live and silent auction, and Christmas tree displays. Business sponsors pick up the tab for costs so the nonprofits have no out-of-pocket expenses.

Several dozen decorated trees — sold at auction — raised from $250 to $3,750 each, Rongen said.

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Canyonside Christian School in Jerome won the People’s Choice Award for its tree decorated with colorful trolls and garland, and received $1 for each vote it received — as did each nonprofit totaling about $7,000.

The Magic Valley Arts Council’s Christmas tree, with decorations from its sponsor Design 125 in Twin Falls, won Best of Show. The winner of the MVAC tree also went home with a Gerilyn Fuestel painting from Full Moon Gallery, said Melissa Crane, marketing and sales director of the arts council.

Major sponsors for the fundraiser were Southern Idaho Landscape Center, which supplied the venue and financial support, and Farmers Bank, which provided financial support. Other sponsors were the Times-News and KMVT.

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