The Aiken Area Council on Aging benefited this week from an ongoing fundraiser with all the trimmings: the 2012 Festival of Trees.

The Festival continued Saturday with a Breakfast with Santa and was open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. at the Fermata Club. The venue will be open from noon to 3 p.m. today, the final day of the Festival of Trees.

Visitors to the Fermata Club got to browse a room full of Christmas-themed decorated trees, wreaths and displays created by local businesses and organizations, including Aiken Regional Medical Centers’ 6-foot “Victorian Christmas” tree, the Sand River Womans Club’s 4-foot “Coastal Christmas” tree, Bespoke Interiors and Aiken Heart Pine’s Russell Waters’ “Sleigh in Style” display, Aiken Quilting Services’ “Winter Wonderland” quilt, Newberry Hall’s table centerpiece, Silver Bluff Animal Hospital’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside” wreath, Joan LaBone’s gingerbread house, and more.

“My favorite tree was ‘Frost Fire,’” said visitor Charlene Benton, referring to a 6-foot tree sponsored, designed and decorated by the Faith Explorers Class.

The festival also boasted a refreshments room and chances to enter a drawing for a $250 gift certificate or a Honora pearl necklace dubbed “Red Hot Pearls,” both by Floyd & Green Jewelers. A Festival of Trees signature ornament by master crystal cutter Bill Healy is also available.

All items on display at the festival are for sale, either by auction bid or direct purchase at a buy it now price, according to festival chairman Sandra Terry.

“We’ve already had a tree and a wreath bought at the buy it now price,” she said. “We have many more items – last year we had 30, and this year we have 50, it’s almost doubled. We had the Wreath War on Wednesday night which was very successful, and this morning we had Breakfast With Santa which got about 70 people here to eat and take pictures with Santa and four elves.”

The Aiken Area Council on Aging will use the proceeds from the Festival to support its Senior Meals Program, according to Terry.

“We do this because South Carolina is No. 3 in the nation for senior hunger, and over 10 percent of Aiken seniors are living below the poverty line,” she said.

Bids on auction items will be taken by phone until 2 p.m. today; visitors to the Festival may bid up to closing at 3 p.m. Auction winners not present at the closing time will be notified by phone between 3 and 6 p.m. on Sunday. Trees will be delivered within a 30-mile radius of Aiken; winners outside that area can make arrangements for delivery or pick-up by phone. Smaller items must be picked up by 4 p.m. Sunday, and all sales are final.

Suzanne Stone is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard. She is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design and studied communications at Augusta State University. She is a native of Augusta, Ga. Contact Suzanne Stone at, or follow on Twitter at #SuzanneRStone and on Facebook at Suzanne Stone is