The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is all about tradition. One tradition that started in 2008 as part of the 7th Annual Christmas At The Crescent Celebration was the “growing” of the “Christmas Forest”, an effort to raise money for local and area charities. In the past 11 years this forest has now harvested $43,483 in local area charitable contributions, that’s more than $3,900 per year.
“This town, this region, this state have provided such a wonderful environment for our hotel’s success, it is only right that we, the Crescent and Basin Park Hotels, always give something back. It is our way of saying, ‘Thank you.’” said Jack Moyer, executive vice president and general manager of both properties. “It was a win-win proposition. We had our mountaintop covered in lighted Christmas trees beautifully decorated by local citizens and employees which created a magical setting through which couples and families could stroll and be immersed in the holiday spirit of decoration and giving. And, it gave those who enjoyed the forest an opportunity to say ‘Merry Christmas’ with donations to a charity whose tree they liked the best.”
“The concept is quite simple,” Moyer explained. “On or about Thanksgiving each year, we purchase, plus have donated, around 30 or more real evergreen trees. The hotel places them on our property adorning each with lights. Charities then come in, usually represented in part by one or more of our employees, and decorate their tree as festively as possible. And what an amazing job they do each year. The trees are absolutely gorgeous.
“We illuminate the Christmas Forest on the first Saturday night in December. From that day thru December 31, those who come to the forest and wish to ‘vote’ for their favorite tree do so by dropping in the ‘ballot box’ one dollar for each vote they would like to cast. On New Year’s Day, the votes are counted. Each charity gets all of their ‘votes’ plus the Crescent kicks in cash prizes for the top three vote getters, $200, $100, and $50, respectively, and an honorable mention donation of $25 to all of the other charities. Shortly thereafter the stripped trees are donated to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge where they become ‘cat toys’ for their big cats.”
Those charities that took top honors this year are Imagination Library in first place, Granny Fund in second place, and Eureka Springs Library in third place.
“Twenty-eight other charities received honorable mention recognition,” said Mary Howze, the hotel’s activities director. “They include Project Self Esteem, Doggie Shop-Good Shepherd Humane Society, Heifer International, Turpentine Creek, Main Street Downtown Network, Eureka Springs Boy Scouts, Eureka Springs School of Arts, Clear Spring School, Loaves & Fishes, Preservation Society, Flint Street Food Bank, Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce, People Helping People, Autism Speaks, Jeremiah House, Nature Conservancy, Eureka Springs Farmers Market, Unconditional Love Pet Rescue, Spay Arkansas, Shriner’s Hospital, Dyslexia, The Purple Flower, Pay It Forward, Children’s Advocacy Center, Women’s Foundation, I’m Dreaming of an Ornery Christmas, Cup of Love Ministry, and American Diabetes Association.”
“This was yet another record year for donations,” Moyer concluded. “With all of the votes added to our additional cash prizes, local area charities netted a 2019 Christmas present of $5,233. Ya see, sometimes money really does grow on trees.”