Beals Memorial Library to make Christmas easier for some

  • A little visitor and her mom check out the Christmas trees available for auction at the Toy Town Festival of Trees at Beals Memorial Library recently. Greg Vine

  • Some of the Christmas trees ready for auction at the First Annual Toy Town Festival of Trees at Beals Memorial Library in Winchendon through Dec. 14. GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 12/1/2019 9:55:16 PM
Modified: 12/1/2019 9:55:14 PM

WINCHENDON – If you’re not yet in the holiday spirit, are just plain no good when it comes to decorating, or simply don’t have the time to look for the perfect tree, Beals Memorial Library in Winchendon might have the solution for your dilemma.

Friends of Beals Memorial Library has put together the first  Toy Town Festival of Trees 2019, running through Dec. 14. Visitors are invited to stop by the library, view the dozen and half decorated trees currently adorning the second-floor auditorium, and place a bid on one or more of the trees. Those with the winning bids will have the privilege of taking their tree home – decorations and all.

The festival was the brainchild of Robert Courtemanche, a member of the town’s Library Board of Trustees.

“We have a fully-accessible library,” said Courtemanche, “and we’re currently in the process of fundraising for a children’s library, which we’d like to put down in the basement. We thought this would be a good way to kick off that fundraising process, and to bring community businesses and families in town together.”

“All the businesses purchased the trees, purchased the decorations, and purchased any raffle items that may be on the trees,” Courtemanche explained. “Then we’re going to be doing a silent auction. So, families that are coming through to look at the trees will bid on the trees that they want to take home. Funds from that silent auction are going to go toward the children’s library.”

The fundraising effort is one small step in what appears to be a daunting fundraising effort.

“I believe it’s over $2 million altogether,” said Courtemanche, “so anything we can do to chip away toward that amount will help. This will be something that we hope to do annually.”

Courtemanche said planning the event has been a months-long process.

“I brought the idea up to the trustees in March or April of this year,” he said. “We set up a subcommittee of myself, Rick Ward, and Cindy Darcy, along with Manuel (library director Manuel King). We went to the Historical Society and said, ‘Hey, we’d like to run this event during your holiday house tour. What do you think?’ They said it was a great idea.”

The subcommittee met again in August to fine tune all the details, they sent out calls to all the businesses and families in town around September and October. “We have nearly 18 trees for our first year, which is a fantastic turnout,” he said.

Anyone interested in placing a bid, or simply viewing the beautifully decorated trees, can do so doing regular library hours. Beals is open Monday through Thursday from 1 to 8 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We have extended hours on Dec. 14,” said Courtemanche. “We’re going to be open 9 to 4 to coincide with the holiday house tour that the Winchendon History and Cultural Center is putting on. We’re on their list of building to visit during the event, but you don’t have to participate in that. You can come in any time you want to.”

Courtemanche added that Dec. 14 will also feature a bake sale, musical entertainment, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus from noon to 1 p.m., which is feature Mrs. Claus reading stories to children visiting the library. Silent auction winners and raffle winners will be announced at the end of the day.

Those who contributed trees to the event include: Fidelity Bank, Ruschioni's Cruisin' 12 Diner, Athol Savings Bank, Eastern Propane, Wendell P. Clark Memorial YMCA, Winchendon Girl Scouts, Murdock Friends of Music, Scouts BSA, Toy Town Li'l Devils PTO, Murdock Sports Boosters, Murdock Middle & Varsity Cheer, Memorial & Toy Town Teachers, Friends of Beals Memorial Library, Winchendon Lions Club, Provost & LaBrack Families, Rick & Vickie Morin, and Atty. David LaPointe & Family.

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