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Snowshoe Foundation kicks off holiday season with tree lighting

At the second annual Snowshoe Foundation Christmas tree lighting Friday, 20 trees illuminated the Snowshoe Village with their blue and white glow. Posing among the trees is Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Cara Rose and Snowshoe Foundation Director Jessica Stump. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

Christmas is about more than presents. It’s about family, friends and sharing with the community. It’s also a time to remember those who are no longer here to celebrate the season.

To honor those memories, and to spread Christmas cheer, the Snowshoe Foundation held its second annual tree lighting ceremony at the Snowshoe Village Friday.

The tree lighting is a time to give back to the community, as well. Trees are purchased in memory of an individual or group of people, or they are purchased with a simple wish for “Happy Holidays.”

At the lighting, members of Snowshoe Foundation and donors were greeted by Foundation Director Jessica Stump, who welcomed everyone to the mountain on the foggy, chilly evening.

“I want to thank everybody for coming out on this foggy, foggy night,” she said. “I want to thank everybody for their support – their continued support –their volunteerism – the whole shebang. This is our second year for this fundraiser. We’ve been lucky – we sold out again this year. We’re thrilled.”

Stump led the crowd in a countdown, signaling Andy Nall to “flip the switch” at the count of one.

The trees, provided by Snyder Farms, were decorated with subtle blue and white lights and were planted in half barrels donated by Smooth Ambler Spirits.

The 20 trees are lined up in the Village and share their glow with the rest of the Christmas decorations at the businesses there.

After lighting the trees, Nall went down the line and read the plaques at each one, which told who the tree was in memory of or who donated it.

The evening was bittersweet for members of the Foundation because it began last year after the untimely passing of Dave Dekema, who was Vice President of Marketing and Lodging at Snowshoe. Dekema’s family started the tree lighting tradition in his memory last year, and the Foundation plans to continue the event.

Stump thanked everyone again and invited them to a hot chocolate reception to celebrate the beginning of the season.
“A lot of hard work went into this, but it’s a really nifty event,” she said.

Trees were donated in memory of: Roy Simms, Shirley Ellouise Daff and Madaline Sage Honeycutt, Dave Dekema, Frank and Hazel Burford, Pete Gray, David and Debra Hamman, Ruth Mayo, Ruth Carte and Bob Morris.

Trees were also donated by: Kenny and Breanna George Family; The Armbrust Family; Citynet; Marlinton Rotary Club; Daniel Loftis and Coby Brown; Marita and Dave Dragan, Shelia and Mike Hamm, Harriet and Bruce James, Brenda and Ira Maupin, Jim Leveille, Michelle Grinberg and Jim Withrow; Smooth Ambler Spirits; Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce; and Farmview Farms – Fred and Sally Adkins, honoring and remembering veterans.

The funds raised by the tree sales will be used in part for the Snowshoe Foundation Toy Drive with the remainder going to grants and scholarships.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at

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