The Grand Island Recreation Department, the Grand Island Lions Club, the Grand Island Central School District, and Kelly's Country Store have combined for a series of fundraising events that begin at the opening of the Christmas shopping season.
For the second year, Kelly's Country Store on Grand Island Boulevard will sell Christmas trees, with proceeds to benefit the Lions Club. In addition:
•Twelve trees will be donated to groups at Grand Island High School for a Student Council tree trimming contest and display in the Viking Mall during the school's "Share the Holiday Magic" from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 14. Voters can pick their favorite tree via a donation of money or a canned good, with proceeds of that event to support the Grand Island Neighbors Foundation.
•The trees will then be auctioned off to benefit the Lions Club.
•The Recreation Department will hold the arrival of Santa in the Viking Mall during "Share the Holiday Magic." Among the special events that night is caroling by school and community groups.
The opening day of Christmas tree sales at Kelly's Country Store is Friday, Nov. 25, continuing until Christmas Eve, or as long as supplies last.
A year ago, 240 trees were sold, according to Sean Kelly, owner of Kelly's Country Store.
"We're anticipating close to 300 this year," Kelly said. "We ran out early last year."
Kelly believes that last year the Kelly's Country Store location was the only one on the Island selling trees.
The endeavor is a fundraiser for the Lions Club, but also a way to honor Sean's father, the late Mike Kelly, a longtime Lions Club member.
"My dad was very heavily involved with the handicapped picnic that (the Lions) do every year," Sean Kelly said. "After he passed away, we were trying to think of a fundraiser, and we thought it was perfect because we've always wanted to sell trees."
"It's worked out well," he said.
"He would have loved this, he really would have," Sean said of his father. "He would have been out here selling. That's how my dad was. He loved to just interact with people because he was all about it."
"We should have done this years ago, really," Kelly said, adding that Dec. 10 and 11 is the biggest weekend of the season. That weekend, Kelly said he will even bring in some live reindeer.