‘Fantasy of Trees’ auction now online as Grimsby Rotary Club shifts gears twice due to pandemic

Grimsby's annual 'Fantasy of Trees' auction moves online Grimsby's annual 'Fantasy of Trees' auction moves online

The Grimsby Rotary Club has had to be nimble to pull off its Fantasy of Trees event this Christmas season, as it has had to change its plans twice.

Many Grimsby residents look forward to visiting the Fantasy of Trees event put on by the Rotary Club and Town at the Grimsby Museum each Christmas.

For 20 years, the event has been an in-person attraction. Visitors typically walk through a large display of uniquely decorated trees and a collection of wreaths that are sponsored by local businesses. Until last week, the Rotary Club was envisioning a similar setup.

The event was still to be held at the Grimsby Museum, but with a few COVID-19 friendly tweaks to adhere to social distancing guidelines and keep everyone safe. One of the first pandemic-safe changes was to move to more wreaths and fewer trees.

Planning officials from the Rotary Club, town, and museum were concerned that the typical walk-through display of trees, “was too touchable,” said Jim Noordermeer, the Team Lead of 2020 Fantasy of Wreaths (and Trees) and represetative from the Rotary Club of Grimsby.

“The dramatically reduced number (of trees) made the event more manageable for controlling entry, walking routes, and running children,” he said.

And so, the usual Fantasy of Trees was revamped to a Fantasy of Wreaths, featuring 20 wreaths and only three trees. The action plan for 2020 was to have the items up for bid viewable behind barriers and ropes. But then, COVID-19 cases in the region rose. Niagara moved from the provincially set yellow tier to the orange tier.

So the planning committee shifted gears again. “Rotary decided to wholly cancel the public event based on the fundamental common sense advisement to stop spreading and sharing air indoors,” said Noordermeer. In less than a week, the entire event was moved online.

Thanks to support from Trellis.org, which Rotary will continue to partner with to have online donation platform, the move to an online event happend fast.

The auction is now on the web. Anyone can visit and bid for their chance win a wreath until Dec. 7 at 10 p.m. At the same time, they’ll be supporting many local charities. To see the gallery of wreaths and trees visit: 2020 Fantasy of Wreaths (and Trees)

Funds raised during this year’s Fantasy of Wreaths will be distributed in February to up to 11 local charities. The recipients and amounts are decided by the Grimsby Rotary Club.

The Bench News is thrilled to support this year’s initiative. Check out The Bench News’ stunning Frost Evergeens Wreath and place a bid.