• Biggest Festival of Trees ever this weekend
    By Lucia Suarez
    STAFF WRITER | November 29,2012
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    With the holidays around the corner, the Paramount Theatre is offering an opportunity to get a kick-start on gift shopping.

    With its biggest benefit yet, the Rutland theater is offering more than 200 auction items as part of the 10th annual Festival of Trees holiday event Saturday night.

    “It’s a bit of showtime,” said event co-chairman Paul Gallo. “You have bidders challenging each other for some great items.”

    This year’s list of donated auction items range from $20 to $30 to upwards of $6,000 and include everything from architectural services to several trips to Mexico and the Caribbean.

    Local highlights include several lamps from Hubbardton Forge, a tailgate party with Castleton State College President David Wolk, several dinner packages and tickets to the Paramount, ski passes, gift cards and more.

    “There are some unbelievable items this year,” said Bruce Bouchard, the theater’s executive director. “We spent two to three months obtaining great items. We have something for everyone.”

    Other auction items include tickets to the University of Vermont Catamount Hockey Tournament on Dec. 29-30 with an overnight stay in Burlington, tickets to the Houston Texans at New England Patriots on Dec. 10 in Foxborough, with a three-hour tailgate party with the Godnick family of Rutland, weeklong trips to Maine, Florida, Cabo San Lucas and more.

    “The list just goes on and on,” Bouchard said. “We are hoping for a good turn out.”

    The Festival of Trees is the theater’s biggest — and only — annual fundraiser which garnered more than $68,000 last year. With hefty operating costs, the Paramount is reliant on community support and organizers expect this year’s festival to be even bigger.

    “I have said it before, the Paramount is the crown jewel of the county,” Gallo said. “It’s an economic engine. It’s vital.”

    “(The Festival of Trees) is a win-win for people as they support the theater and leave with something,” he added.

    Doors open at 5 p.m., with the silent auction running until 8 p.m. Auctioneer Bob Prozzo will take the helm at 7 p.m. for the live auction, while Roots the Restaurant will be offering food throughout. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $15.

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