By Marissa Carpenter
et Out and Get Under the Moon
After a year’s hiatus, the Christmas Tree Auction is back — but you won’t recognize it. And you might not even be able to find the door.
Since last year’s calendar was wiped clean of events, the Visalia Chamber of Commerce is going full-on foxtrot for its 40th, reimagining a speakeasy-themed auction, complete with a secret event location. With the help of Expo Events, it is cultivating an experience for donors and business owners to support the nonprofits serving Visalia.
It’ll be a fully immersive Roaring ’20s speakeasy experience, from flapper and mobster attire to signature ’20s-style cocktails, with a fully decked-out art deco space. With dancing, drinking and donating to all your favorite charities through silent auctions and Christmas trees decorated by local organizations, it’s sure to be swell.
There’ll Be Some Changes Made
The very first Christmas Tree Auction began years ago, when several business leaders joined forces and combined holiday parties, auctioning elaborately decorated 8- to 10-foot trees and hosting a formal sit-down dinner. This year, the event model is shifting to keep up with the next generation of donors, allowing for better returns for local nonprofits, while shaking things up.
In addition to a variety of silent auction items, this year’s event will feature a new location with indoor and outdoor space, beautiful 5-foot Christmas trees decorated by local nonprofit organizations, a 1920s’ street scene, a step-through speakeasy (complete with a password) and a 360-degree art-deco bar. VIP ticket holders will appreciate a separate entrance and luxurious lounge and seating areas.
Oh! You Have No Idea
I ain’t no snitch, but given the indoor/outdoor *ahem* secret location, guys should dress in their warmest ’20s gear (wool suits!), and dolls are encouraged to don faux fur stoles and long gloves. Heaters and semi-indoor shelters will be available throughout the evening and around the event area. But this isn’t the time to be a wet blanket. Show off those gams, gals!
All tickets include a wine glass, wine tasting and samples from local eateries while you enjoy dancing and entertainment. Drink tickets for signature Prohibition-themed cocktails can be pre-purchased or purchased on-site. Specialty cocktails include:
- French 95
- Brown Derby Blossom
- Bee’s Knees
Think that this event is breaking some rules? Horsefeathers! Prohibition was repealed in 1931, and the Visalia Chamber of Commerce will follow all COVID protocols — while still leaving plenty of room for fun!
During the pandemic, the Visalia Chamber of Commerce became an entirely different kind of resource for local businesses and their customers. The Chamber continues its commitment to local charities through this yearly event, as all of the winning bids for the Christmas trees go directly to the nonprofit that decorated them. Ticket sales for the event will help support the Visalia Chamber.
“We’re excited to reintroduce this reimagined tradition to Visalia. It’s not often the world allows you to go back to the drawing board to enhance and update the very best parts of an already magical event,” Gail Zurek, CEO of the Visalia Chamber, said with a Gatsby-esque twinkle in her eye. “This year’s Christmas tree will be more than an event, it will be an experience. From the moment guests walk through the ‘doors,’ they will be transported back in time to a golden age in America. I know Visalia is going to be blown away.”
In the 1920s, Americans found themselves in a post-World War landscape, craving comfort and time spent with family. Now, 100 years later in the 2020s, we crave togetherness (and getting dressed up!) all over again. Buy your tickets today at visaliachamber.org/cta for a chance to finally wear beads, baubles, oxfords and vests while supporting multiple good causes. It will be the cat’s meow, ol’ sport!
Friday, Dec. 3, 2021
$130/person or $250/couple
*Location to be announced Nov. 29 to ticket holders*
DJ: Bliss Event Group
Production and Design: Expo Events & Tents
VIP Food: Mache
Cocktails: QG & Spirits