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Festival of Trees one of season’s most elegant fundraisers

Santa’s elves were busy getting ready for Festival of Trees, benefiting the Florida Center for Children and Youth. The silent auction at last Friday night’s elegant dinner was filled with enough gifts and decorations to let all of the guests check off their holiday shopping lists.

Dede Curran chaired the auction committee, which gathered goodies that ranged from fully decorated Christmas trees to gift baskets and restaurant certificates. Raul Molina of Lux-Art Silks was the head elf. Not only did he provide the trees for the auction, he also made the elegant gold and silver table centerpieces.

Sen. Mike and Dee Bennett were gracious honorary chairs of the annual event held at Michael’s on East. Mike is chair emeritus of the financial development board for the organization and, of course, the popular couple knows almost everyone in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Familiar faces in the crowd included Doug and Tami Johnson, Tramm and Sarah Hudson, Kathy and Marvin Kaplan, and Kemp Hetzler and Stephanie Reinicke. It was nice to catch up with former MCC Foundation executive director Alan Blair and his wife, Cynthia. Alan is helping to set up new Sarasota office of Caldwell Trust.

Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years. She has been active in many local organizations as a volunteer or an employee.

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