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Deck the Trees fundraiser expands from Monte Vista to downtown businesses

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
The lobby in the Monte Vista Hotel in Black Mountain features 27 trees, decorated by businesses and organizations from all over the Swannanoa Valley, as Deck the Trees returns for its ninth year.

BLACK MOUNTAIN - Deck the Trees, an annual fundraiser event held in the Monte Vista hotel, will be different this year. 

Now in its 10th year, Deck the Trees will feature 12 trees in the Monte Vista lobby and 18 trees inside downtown businesses. The fundraiser’s committee says that it is open to having more trees in more businesses.

Committee member Cindy Johnson said making a decision about holding the event during a pandemic was urgent.

“We were at our meeting and we were saying that we knew we had to plan for something,” Johnson said. “There was a need for us to continue our plans and keep it going.”

Deck the Trees benefits the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry Fuel Fund, a charity that covers the cost of electricity and heating for locals unable to afford costs during the winter. The fundraiser has raised $115,000 through nine years, including a record $35,000 in 2019.

Businesses decorate a Christmas tree according to the fundraiser’s theme, while Black Mountain residents vote for their favorite. Votes are counted for each dollar placed inside a box by the tree.

This year’s theme is “And a Star Appeared.”

Libba Fairleigh, who has worked with the fundraiser since its second year, says the committee was looking forward to all of downtown being decorated. While people continue to work from home, they can still enjoy Deck the Trees.

“The whole idea for Black Mountain is, wherever you go, there’s going to be Christmas trees,” Fairleigh said. “There’s going to be a much-needed light everywhere.”

Without its black-tie gala, Fairleigh says the event will continue in its new format moving forward. Assuming social distancing is not required next winter, Fairleigh said, the gala will return.

The new format has been welcomed by businesses.

“I think this year was sort of feeling ho-hum, and this is a whole new exciting adventure,” she said. “It is true that businesses are so excited about having a tree in their business, so they aren’t going to want to give it up next year.”

Those interested in having a tree be featured in the event may contact Fairleigh or the Monte Vista. All trees will be available for public viewing during business hours.

For Fairleigh, participating in the fundraiser allows newcomers to the town to make connections with natives. 

And it wouldn’t make sense not to.

“It’s been a wonderful way to get to know people,” Fairleigh said. “It is just a phenomenal way to get to meet the community, to bring a lot of joy into people’s lives. Now, how can you go wrong?”