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The Hospice Christmas Auction will return to the Crook County Fairgrounds next weekend

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Numerous trees are elaborately decorated employing unique items and themes. Some trees sell for more than $1,000 with proceeds benefitting St. Charles Hospice.

The Hospice Christmas Auction has become a holiday mainstay in Prineville, raising significant money for St. Charles Hospice in past years.

The event returns next Saturday, once again taking place at Crook County Fairgrounds indoor arena. This year's theme is Christmas in the Cabin and will feature buffalo plaid color schemes and moose and bears.

"It is a treasured holiday event that raises funds in support of St. Charles Hospice and transition patients," said Event Coordinator Ann Fisher.

The event invites people and local businesses to bid on elaborately decorated artificial Christmas trees and quilts as well as silent auction gift baskets and other prizes. It has continually raised more money and drawn more participants through the years, with the 2016 event bringing in a crowd of more than 600 people and raising about $108,000 in net profit.

The top-selling Christmas tree went for $6,500 last year, but it was only the second-highest purchase of the evening. A quilt sold for $8,000.

New to the auction this year is the inclusion of wreaths for bid.

"It was a suggestion from a sponsor, and we are trying to see how it will go," Fisher said.

Requests for wreaths were included with the paperwork sent out to past tree sponsors, and auction organizers brought up the addition during conversations with sponsors.

"They need to be 48 inches in diameter," Fisher said, adding that they need to be pre-lit, faux wreaths, similar to the trees available at the auction.

Many trees will be available for bid next weekend, and Fisher highlighted a sample of what people can expect to see at the arena. One tree, created by Dillon's Grill, is described as "rib racks roasting on an open fire" and "grilled aroma nipping at your nose."

"Imagine, if you will, coming across a cabin in the woods," Mosaic Medical says of their tree, "and finding the three bears inside decorating their Christmas tree."

But the top tree display, Fisher believes, was created by Rosendin Electric. The company built a log cabin/storage shed, she said, with insulated walls and a covered front porch.

"It just looks really cute," Fisher said. "We are going to have it so you can walk up to the front porch and looking inside the door (at the tree)."

The auction begins on Saturday with doors opening at 5 p.m. for a cocktail hour courtesy of Ochoco Brewing Company. A dinner will follow, catered this year for the first time by Cody's Catering, after which bidding will begin.

Attendance to the auction is by invitation only, but people who want to take a look at the trees, quilts and wreaths will have a chance to do so on Friday.

"Anybody can come on Friday afternoon (4 to 7 p.m.)," Fisher said. "It will be fully set up to look at all of the items."

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