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Popular Christmas tree fundraiser taking place in Santa Maria mall

The popular Altrusa “Festival of Trees” fundraiser is back at the Santa Maria Town Center mall.

The 16th annual event is held by Altrusa of the Central Coast and serves as the organization’s biggest fundraiser each year.

“The money goes back in ways of grants for organizations that apply and also scholarships for high schools,” said Altrusa member Joelyn Lutz.

More than 30 specially decorated themed Christmas trees are on display and will be raffled off.

“The trees are so unique in their own way,” Lutz said. “It really kind of takes your breath away. Sometimes you can spend quite a while looking under the tree to see there’s so much stuff.”

Each tree is sponsored by a local business or group and is decorated with several gifts.

Visitors can purchase a chance to win a tree by buying a $1 raffle ticket.

“We got stuff for the guys,” Lutz said. “Got stuff for women. We’ve got stuff for children and some of the trees are made up for the whole family in mind, so it’s pretty incredible.”

The group said it has raised more than $500,000 over the previous 15 years.

There are actually two Altrusa fundraisers happening now in the mall.

The display on the bottom floor is being held by Altrusa of the Central Coast, with proceeds benefiting local service projects, plus grants and scholarships for area groups and organizations.

“They can really expect something beautiful from our own community members doing something special for the community and then giving it away,” said Lutz.

On the upper floor, Altrusa Golden Valley is holding a tree fundraiser of their own.

It’s “Magical Christmas Trees” event will benefit local teachers and schools.

The drawing for Magical Christmas Trees is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8.

The Festival of Trees is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased through Dec. 8. The drawing will be held Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m.

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