A story incorrectly reported the location of the fundraiser for ValleyCare Health Systems Charitable Foundation.
PLEASANTON -- It is not exactly a hall, but Cheryl Perry has been decking boughs for a good cause for nearly two decades.
Beginning Thursday, Perry and several other enthusiastic Christmas tree decorators will show off this year's designs at ValleyCare Health Systems Charitable Foundation's 18th annual Christmas Tree Lane event.
The three-day event at the Palm Event Center at Mitchell Katz Winery, 1184 Vineyard Ave., Pleasanton, will feature a chance for the public to view dozens of decorated trees during Thursday's Family Stroll where Santa Claus will make an appearance, tinsel teas, a Friday night dinner and luncheon on Saturday.
But the Christmas trees are the highlight of the event, and Perry has been decorating them with a friend since the inception of the event in 1994.
"The whole event is a sight to see," said Perry. "It is one of the nicest events, and we look at it as the kickoff to holiday season."
A Livermore native, Perry and her friend usually buy 800 to 1,000 ornaments per year to decorate one tree and during some years have decorated as many as three. The trees will be on display Thursday at the family stroll and will be auctioned off to lucky bidders by the end of the weekend.
Tickets range from $10 for a child, to $15 for adults for the Family Stroll night on Thursday, to $45 to $100 for the tinsel tea and the Saturday luncheon, respectively, and $90 for the Friday night dinner and dancing. Tickets must be reserved for the teas ($45), luncheon ($100) and dinner ($90) require reservations.
The Christmas Tree Lane originally began in 1994 by a patient who started the event to raise funds to save the ValleyCare library, which was in danger of closing because of budget constraints. Since then, Christmas Tree Lane has raised more than $1 million for various ValleyCare programs, said Madonna D'Angelo, a ValleyCare marketing associate.
The tinsel teas and family stroll night portions were added when the event moved from Livermore to Pleasanton close to a decade ago, D'Angelo said.
"If you have ever been to it, it's spectacular," D'Angelo said. "The trees are the highlight of it, and they just dazzle." Each year Perry and her friend have come up with a different theme for the tree and have never repeated a design.
The duo usually takes about a week to decorate their tree and begins scouting ornaments as early as March. The ornaments grace either a 4-foot or 71/2-foot tree complete with lights and tinsel.
"The quality of the trees has gotten so much better, and it has become quite a holiday event for the Tri-Valley," Perry said.
For more information on the Christmas Tree Lane event visit www.valleycare.com/foundation-christmas-tree-lane.aspx.