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Festival starts holiday season

Event at Valencia Town Center raises funds for Boys & Girls Club of SCV

Posted: November 10, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 10, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Nanette Thomas and Sherry Miller, of Burbank, look at decorated trees on the first day of the Festival of Trees at Westfield Valencia Town Center on Friday.

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The 10th annual Festival of Trees to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley opened its doors Friday for a 13-day run at a space on the Shops at The Patios at Westfield Valencia Town Center.

The festival is the “unofficial kickoff” to the holiday season in the Santa Clarita Valley, said Ronda Chobanian, director of the Boys & Girls Club Foundation.

A steady stream of visitors on Friday viewed more 30 elaborately decorated trees, nearly 100 gingerbread houses and dozens of tabletop trees and wreaths.

“This is our second largest fundraiser of the year,” said Bryan Lake, director of administration of the Boys & Girls Club of SCV. “We are hoping to make at least $100,000 from the event this year.”

Lake said was impressed with the efforts of Chobanian and her decorating crew.

“The trees are exceptionally beautiful this year,” he said. “I am amazed at what Ronda and her design team have pulled off.”

Madison Shaver, 6, of Valencia said she liked the “gingerbread houses and the trees the best.”

She attended the event with her younger sister, Kendal, and mother, Michele Shaver of Valenca and grandmother Gail McGinnis of Thousand Oaks.

“We’ve attended Festival of Trees every year,” said Michele Shaver. “This is my favorite event in the SCV.”

Volunteer Vicki Bottenfield worked the children’s Kid’s Corner on opening day.

“This is my first year working the event,” she said. “I wanted to help out the Boys & Girls Club.”

Bottenfield said the Kid’s Corner offered children a chance to make holiday-themed crafts.

The club received a $100,000 grant from the city of Santa Clarita in August to guarantee it didn’t have to suspend late after-school day care or shut down its facilities on Fridays.

Nearly 2,500 youth are served by the club at two facilities — in Newhall and Canyon Country.

Santa is scheduled to appear at the festival Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Hours to the family-friendly festival vary during its 13-day run. A full schedule of entertainment, events and hours, including the Jingle Jam Swing Dance on Nov. 10, Hocus Pocus Magic Show on Nov. 16 and Magic of the Lights Gala on Nov. 17 can be found at



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