The piney scent of a fresh Christmas tree is a sign of the Christmas holidays.
For the second year, purchasing a fresh tree or wreath also can provide uniforms and equipments for Lakeside High School athletes.
The Lakeside Panther Athletic Association is taking orders for fresh Christmas trees and wreaths to support the school's 26 teams in 15 sports, said Gil Eustice, the association's second vice president.
Fraser fir trees are available from a 3-foot tabletop size to 10 feet tall. Wreaths are available in 14- and 24-inch diameter sizes.
The deadline to order is Nov. 8, and prices range from $25 for the tabletop tree to $60 for a 9- to-10-foot fir. Wreaths cost between $15 and $28.
All are ordered from Bill Woodard Farms in Bryson City, N.C., where they are cut just before shipping for delivery during Thanksgiving weekend, Eustice said.
"They are fresh," he said. "We had raves about them last year because the trees and the wreaths were fresh. People said they took them down last year after the holidays, and they were still pretty fresh, not losing too many needles."
The association has an $80,000 annual budget, Eustice said. Last year's tree sale raised $6,500, and the association is aiming to sell 500 trees and wreaths to supplement teams' budgets this year.
The association helps pay for sporting equipment, uniforms and travel expenses not covered by the county, Eustice said, adding that the money is used for everything from tennis and soccer balls to lodgings and food for out-of-town trips to championship competitions.
Ordered trees and wreaths will be available for pick-up Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, at the school stadium.
"We will give anybody's money back if they are not happy or pick them out another tree," Eustice said. "We order a few extra trees for that purpose."
Order forms are available at the school office or from a Lakeside High athlete. For more information, call Eustice at 855-5251.
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