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Press Release

Wednesday, November 22

MEDIA ADVISORY: AWB Holiday Kids’ Tree Lighting is Dec. 1 (including fact sheet)

Tree-lighting in Capitol rotunda set for 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, as AWB celebrates 29th annual Holiday Kids’ Tree program; tree arrives for decorations Nov. 28

OLYMPIA — The Association of Washington Business welcomes the arrival of the 2017 holiday season Friday, Dec. 1, with a 6 p.m. tree-lighting ceremony at the Capitol rotunda.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman will be on hand to light the tree with the help of seven-year veteran of the Washington National Guard Company Commander and 1st Lieutenant Shawnta M. DiFalco and her two daughters, ages 14 and 16.

The tree, which will be delivered to the Capitol rotunda Nov. 28 for decorating, is a 30-foot Noble fir donated by Weyerhaeuser’s Vail Tree Farm in Rainier, Wash. This year’s theme is “Friends of the Forest” and will feature stuffed ornaments of animals native to Washington state.

The festive event marks the conclusion of the association’s 29th annual Holiday Kids’ Tree Project fundraiser to benefit children and families in rural communities throughout the state.

Since 1989, AWB’s Holiday Kids’ Tree project has raised more than $390,000 for families in need. Donations gathered this year will be presented at 5:30 p.m. in the State Reception Room to 18 rural fire districts in nine counties, which use the funds to buy food and gifts for families in their communities. Grant, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Spokane, Thurston, Okanogan, Chelan and Walla Walla counties are this year’s recipients.

In addition to themed and traditional decorations, 7,000 new LED lights will adorn this year’s tree.

After the tree comes down, the stuffed animal ornaments will be individually wrapped along with a story book that relates to the tree’s theme and handed out at children’s hospitals.

To learn more about the Holiday Kids’ Tree project, visit this website: http://www.awb.org/awb-holiday-kids-tree/.

AGENDA

WHO: Association of Washington Business

  •  AWB President Kris Johnson
  •  Secretary of State Kim Wyman

WHAT: AWB Holiday Kids’ Tree Lighting Ceremony

WHERE: Capitol Rotunda/State Legislative Building, 416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW, Olympia

WHEN: FRIDAY, DEC. 1, 2017

5:30 p.m. – Secretary of State Kim Wyman presentation of gifts to fire districts (State Reception Room with invited guests only)

6:00 p.m. – Welcome: Jeff Canaan, deputy director, WDES

6:03 p.m. – Musical performances by Kids in Concert

6:11 p.m. – Statement of appreciation: Kris Johnson, AWB president

6:16 p.m. – Additional musical selections by Kids in Concert

6:24 p.m. – Proclamation and lighting of the tree: Secretary Wyman and Washington National Guard Company Commander and 1st Lieutenant Shawnta M. DiFalco and her two daughters, ages 14 and 16.

6:35 p.m. – Santa arrives

FACT SHEET: AWB’s 29th ANNUAL HOLIDAY KIDS’ TREE PROJECT

What is the Holiday Kids’ Tree Project? The Holiday Kids’ Tree Project is a charitable project of the Association of Washington Business that benefits children and families in rural communities statewide. AWB members, including large and small employers from across the state and individuals, support the program with donations.

AWB also hosts the annual tree-lighting ceremony at the state Capitol Rotunda where money and gifts are presented by AWB and the governor to the rural fire departments. While the tree-lighting ceremony is the most visible symbol of this effort, the real joy is in the hundreds of needy families supported through donations from AWB member businesses and individuals.

When did this program begin? The project started in 1989. That year, AWB raised just enough money to set up the tree.

Who contributed to this year's effort
and how much will each rural fire department receive? To date, 70 AWB member businesses and individuals from around the state donated to the project. Each of the 18 fire districts will receive $1,000 from the project.

How much money has the project raised since it first began?
Since 1989, AWB has raised more than $390,000 for families who benefit from this project.

What does AWB do with the money for this project?
The money is distributed to 18 rural fire districts in nine counties, which use the funds to buy food and gifts for families in their communities. The counties that will receive funds are Grant, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Spokane, Thurston, Okanogan, Chelan and Walla Walla.

Who provides the decorations?
AWB purchased the decorations. The tree will be decorated with 7,000 LED lights and festive traditional decorations, along with stuffed characters representing this year’s theme of “Friends of the Forest” and will represent animals native to Washington state. The stuffed ornaments will be donated to an area children’s hospital when the tree comes down at the end of December. The stuffed characters will be individually wrapped with a story book that relates to the story of each character and then handed out to children at the hospital.

Who provides the tree?
The Washington State Department of Enterprise provides the tree. Like last year, Weyerhaeuser’s Vail Tree Farm, an AWB member company, donated the tree.

How tall is the tree? What kind of tree is it?
This year’s tree is a 30-foot Noble fir, donated by Weyerhaeuser’s Vail Tree Farm in Rainier, Wash. The elevation of the tree farm is roughly 2,100 feet.

Who decorates the tree?
The State Visitor Services helps coordinate this event each year. Staff from the Department of Enterprise Services put the tree in place and decorate the tree alongside AWB. The tree was donated by Weyerhaeuser.

Who will light this year’s tree?
Secretary of State Kim Wyman will light the tree with help Washington National Guard Company Commander and 1st Lieutenant Shawnta M. DiFalco and her two daughters, ages 14 and 16.


Whom do I contact for more information? AWB’s Bonnie Millikan at 360.943.1600 or BonnieM@awb.org.

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