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Explore Charleston Hosts Inaugural Festival of Trees to Benefit Dragon Boat Charleston

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Dragon Boat Charleston is collaborating with Explore Charleston to turn the Charleston Area Visitor and Reception Center into a winter wonderland this holiday season in support of cancer patients and survivors. The Visitor Center is adorned with themed Christmas trees adopted by area businesses and philanthropists, a Menorah display, and holiday fun for all. The Inaugural Festival of Trees runs through January 5th and offers the public an opportunity to bid and vote on the trees in a silent-auction format.

“We are thrilled with the recently-renovated Visitor Center and are excited to host the inaugural Festival of Trees as part of our reopening plans,” said Helen Hill, CEO of Explore Charleston. “Our vision with the renovation was to create a Center that engages both locals and visitors alike. Partnering with Dragon Boat Charleston to host this wonderful event and support their philanthropic efforts is a great example of how that vision becomes a reality.”

Dragon Boat Charleston (DBC) promotes the physical and mental wellness of cancer survivors and their community of supporters. In keeping with the mission, DBC invited groups to adopt the trees and decorate them in honor or in memory of someone who has battled cancer. Each tree is uniquely decorated with a theme depicting the person being honored.

As part of its inaugural year, the Festival unveiled a special event logo designed by a DBC survivor and her daughter. The logo cleverly depicts dragon boat paddles that form a tree with the dragon wrapped around it like garland (above right).

“We are so very grateful for the partnership with Explore Charleston to help add joy to the holiday season,” said Cindy Wynne, board chair of Dragon Boat Charleston. “The groups who are decorating trees are so creative and generous, and we cannot thank our sponsors enough for helping to make this happen.”

Every dollar raised helps DBC in outreach and support of cancer patients, survivors and community supporters.

“DBC is a special and welcoming place where people can think more about life and less about their battle with cancer,” Amy Brennan, executive director of Dragon Boat Charleston, said. “We are all inspired by the journeys of our survivors and seeing the stories of so many strong people come to life through each tree is very moving.”

The holiday display runs from November 16th to January 5th, with bidding starting on December 1st. Local residents and visitors can tour the display and bid or vote on trees to show their support for the group, the honoree, or simply the unique and beautiful decorations.

The web-based auction will close in two phases: Five trees can be sold on December 17th for someone to enjoy in their home or business this year, pending a minimum required bid. The remaining bids close on January 5th, and those winners will have a tree and ornaments packed up and ready to display for 2021.

The event also includes a beautiful Menorah display in celebration of Hanukkah on loan from the Zucker family.

The Charleston Visitor Center is located at 375 Meeting Street and is open daily from 8:30 am to 5 pm. The event is free and open to the public. Masks are required for entry.

For more information, visit the official website.

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