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Annual Festival of Trees to be held in Fort St. James Nov. 18-24

The event is a fundraiser to cover costs for FSJSS students’ annual field trip to Haida Gwaii
A landscape painting by Pat Gauthier. The artist will have some of her paintings and art cards available for purchase at the Fort St. James Craft Fair on Nov. 18 and 19. (Pat Gauthier photo)

The annual Festival of Trees is set to return this year at the Fort St. James Community Centre from Nov. 18 to 24.

Hosted by grade 9 students of Fort St. James Secondary School (FSJSS) the community event is a fundraiser to cover part of the cost of the annual educational trip to Haida Gwaii.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to help celebrate and share in the holiday spirit of our community,” the school said in a statement.

FSJSS is calling on people to participate with the sponsorship of a decorated artificial tree, a wreath of any size. Meanwhile people can also donate directly to the Grade 9 Haida Gwaii trip.

Participants can set up the tree after 4 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the Community Centre . An online silent auction will take place from Nov. 18 ( starting 6 a.m.) to Nov. 24 (ending 9 p.m.) and the trees will be sold to the highest bidder.

The field trip is scheduled for June 2024 and is estimated to cost $20,000 for 50 students from grade 9, said Jacqueline Soles one of the organizers of the event. Additionally the teachers and students have also been raising funds through movie nights.

The annual field trip to Haida Gwaii is a chance to provide an affordable educational experience for every student which focuses on exploring history, culture, science and their connection to the global community.

“This trip also provides an opportunity to enrich our students’ relationships with each other and show them the wondrous environment in which we live.”

The school started organizing the Festival of Trees over 10 years ago and it is a community event to get businesses involved in starting the holiday season, said Soles. The students are an active part of organizing the event, helping with the set up and serving refreshments among other activities, said Soles.

The event always get a positive response from the community, Soles said, adding, they typically raise around $4,000 every year.

“There is a lot of community engagement and that is actually why we are running it this year over the Craft Fair weekend (Nov. 18, 19) as well, to give people a little bit more opportunity to participate in two events at the same time instead of coming out two weekends in a row.”

To participate in the auction visit