A new attraction has been added to the STEP Into Christmas Home Tour offered by Solutions That Empower People (STEP), Inc. this year. A Festival of Trees, featuring 10 Christmas trees decorated by local nonprofit agencies, will be held in conjunction with the popular holiday home tour, set for
Saturday, Dec. 7.
The Festival of Trees is housed at the Franklin Center on Claiborne Avenue in Rocky Mount through December 12.
The trees, provided by STEP, are decorated in a fashion that demonstrates the services offered by the nonprofit decorating it. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite tree by placing a new, unwrapped toy under it. The tree with the most toys, “wins.”
Following the event, the toys will be distributed to area children by We Care, Franklin County, and the trees will be given to families in the nonprofits’ clientele.
“It’s a real feel-good holiday event, epitomizing the giving spirit of the season and encouraging people to look beyond the commercialism of this time of year,” said STEP Marketing and Communications Director Kris Landrum. “We hope to build community by encouraging our nonprofits to work together to
creating a stronger safety net for those in need. Participating agencies have an opportunity to grow awareness of their services and to support each other in the work that they do.”
Nonprofits participating include the Bernard Health Care Center (better known as the Free Clinic), Blue Ridge Association for Sickle Cell Anemia, Disability Rights and Resource Center, Helping Hands of Franklin County, Henry Fork Service Center, Faith Network, Franklin County Family Resource Center, Franklin County Historical Society, Southern Virginia Child Advocacy Center, and Tri-Area Community Health. Signs designating which nonprofit decorated each tree will be situated nearby.
The winning tree with the most toys will be announced December 10 and a ribbon will be placed on the tree’s sign. The trees will remain on display for two more days.
The reception for the STEP Into Christmas Home Tour will also be held in the Franklin Center and is open to ticket holders. The properties included in this year’s tour are owned by David and Kimberly Lang (220 Claiborne Ave.); Jim and Diane Lovell (Earth Environmental at 235 Claiborne Ave.); Amy and Matthew Vann (The Claiborne House at 185 Claiborne Ave.); Glenna and Larry Moore (The Angle Guest House
at 215 Claiborne Ave.); Richard and Teresa Harrell (an all-metal “Lustron” home at 170 High St.); and Aaron and Sarah Stubbs (145 Claiborne Ave.).
The event will also feature strolling Christmas carolers and a stop at the historic High Street Cemetery.
Tickets to the home tour are $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. Advance tickets are available in Rocky Mount at Carter’s Fine Jewelers, Haywood’s Jewelers, and the STEP office. In Moneta they may be purchased at PAC Interiors and Haywood’s Jewelers. For the latest information, visit STEP’s website at
www.stepincva.com or the STEP Into Christmas Facebook page.
“Resilience” is one of 10 trees decorated by nonprofits in the Festival of Trees organized by STEP at the Franklin Center in Rocky Mount.