The 14th annual Odlum Brown’s Christmas Village came to a conclusion on Thursday with the gala at Crown Isle.
Twenty-five gingerbread houses and 42 stuffed animal displays, donated and constructed by residents and businesses, were auctioned off, with the big winners being the four local charities selected as the recipients of the funds.
This year’s charities are Comox Valley Boys & Girls Club, Canadian Tire Jumpstart, Salvation Army Family Services and the Comox Valley Child Development Association. The four groups will split $12,500.
Pam Crowe, CVCDA president, said it’s another in a long list of fundraising projects for which the Comox Valley community continues to show its unwavering support.
“It’s another one of those really great community events that we just can’t do without,” said Crowe. “It (the gala) was a great event and once again the community came through with some fabulous efforts. Oh my gosh, those gingerbread houses aren’t houses, they are masterpieces.
“Every year they seem to step up in their creativity. I don’t know how they do it, but they always do.”
Crowe said the money has yet to be earmarked for a specific project within the CVCDA.
“Generally what we do is we … make a wish list request and see what we come up with, that will fill a need,” said Crowe. “It may be for some specific equipment, or a program. All I know is it will certainly be used, 100 per cent, to serving and supporting the children.”
Kelly Barnie, director of sales, marketing and communications for the Comox Valley Boys & Girls Club, said the Christmas Village is one of two major fundraisers for her association.
“We couldn’t do what we do without the great support from this fundraiser,” said Barnie. “We have been very appreciatively involved with Odlum Brown in the project for 14 years now and it’s enabled us to do outstanding things with our programs.”
The money from the past two Christmas Village years has been earmarked towards two new programs that are expected to launch in 2016 – The Adventure Club, for the older 12-15-year-olds, and an entrepreneurship program for 13-18-year-olds.
The Boys and Girls Club services approximately 200 clients each year.
The total amount raised at this year’s Odlum Brown’s Christmas Village was still being calculated at press time, but it was known that the WestJet stuffie was the largest single item auctioned, raising $2,010.
“That’s for two round-trip tickets anywhere they fly so it’s awesome, and WestJet has been hugely supportive of Christmas Village for years and years, so we are just so grateful to them,” said organizer Mary Ruth Harris.
A fun part of the fundraiser is the judging for best entries. This year, a new Restaurant/Commercial Gingerbread Division was created, with the winner receiving the Christmas Village Cup. The inaugural winner of that prize was Crown Isle.
The other winners were as follows:
1st – MADE IN CANADA by Art Knapp’s Plantland
2nd – SUPER HEROS by Janine Martin
3rd – MASON THE MONKEY by Shelley & Mackenzie Gartside
1st – Santa’s Place by Graydon (4) & Ella (6) Engisch
2nd – The Family Tree by Ella (9) & Maggie (7) Wilson
3rd – Carter (11) & Makayla (8) Dejong from Spruce Grove, AB
1st – The Salvation Army’s “Christmas Village”
2nd – “UP” – Taryn Graham
3rd – “A Christmas Scene” by ACS Computer Solutions
1st – Crown Isle’s Clubhouse
2nd – “Gru’s First Christmas” by Laura Barnes from John’s Independent Grocer
3rd – “Blackfin Pub & Marina” by Melissa Randell
Teddy Bear – “SUPER HEROS” by Janine Martin
Gingerbread – “UP” by Taryn Graham