By Polly Lynn
Nearly 500 people took a seat in the Paramount Theatre for the annual 13th annual Festival of Trees held Saturday, Dec. 5. It was the largest turnout in the history of the event and raised a record level of funds for the theatre’s operation costs, said Bruce Bouchard, executive director of the Paramount Theatre.
The gross amount raised was $122,000 “which is simply staggering,” Bouchard said Monday, Dec. 7. “There is no question that it has become an iconic event, signifying not only the beginning of the season we all love but of the soaring possibilities of the human spirit.”
Bouchard said the funds raised were necessary. “It is so needed as we have headed toward $2,000,000,” Bouchard said of the theatre’s operating budget. It’s the largest fundraiser for the theatre.
There were 80 items on the live auction list, including week-long vacations, catered dinners for four to 40 people, a season ski pass, 400 gallons of heating oil, and tickets to professional sports games; plus 179 items on the silent auction list.
Bouchard and Paul Gallo, vice president of the Paramount board of directors and co-chairmen of the Festival of Trees, collected the donated items for the auctions over the past few months. It’s always “fun inventing new and unusual items of interest,” Bouchard said.