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NORTH BEND — The lobby of The Mill Casino-Hotel has transformed into a forest of themed Christmas trees.

On Monday, local businesses gathered in the Salmon Room to decorate these noble firs in lights and ribbons for the annual Festival of Trees auction. The trees will be auctioned off on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6:45 p.m. and the proceeds will go to the Rotary Coos Foundation.

More than a dozen trees were decorated during this year's Festival of Trees event, which now decorate the lobby at the Mill Casino-Hotel and w…

“From there, grants are handed out and nonprofits apply throughout the year,” said Heidi Proett, Festival of Trees co-chair. “It’s very important to the community. . . This money goes back into our community and helps a lot of people.”

As the trees are auctioned off, Proett said many people will go on to donate them to needy families because they come with children’s gifts.

“Some businesses will take the tree to their office and donate what’s under the tree to another charity,” she said. “We’ve had everything from a wine themed tree to camping themes. Everyone has their own ideas.”

On Monday, Bay Area Hospital and the Kids' HOPE Center employees decorated a Harry Potter themed tree, while the Rotary Club decorated a Mickey and Minnie Mouse tree.

“The Festival of Trees auction has been going on for several years,” Proett said. “We like to raise about $25,000 every year because we do turn that around and give it back out in different grants. People apply for all sorts of items, whether it is a new piano for the music program at Hillcrest Elementary or items for the relief nursery, or for the coats and shoes program at United Way. So many local programs benefit from this event.”

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.