Dec 11, 2013 1:55 PM by MELISSA CANONE
A new community holiday tradition has arrived at Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel, as the Opelousas property hosts its first annual "Trees of Hope" charity fundraiser.
Fifteen local non-profit organizations were invited to participate in a friendly tree decorating competition, with each charity getting a tree to decorate. The trees are located near the valet entrance and extend around to the Fast Track Rewards Club. From today through December 18, the public is invited to view the trees and vote for their favorite. Evangeline Downs will award a total of $10,000 in cash to all participants, including a first-place prize of $5,000.
"We are pleased to help out many worthwhile charities in our community, but Trees of Hope provides something else as well: A beautiful holiday display that the entire community can enjoy," said Bret Cox, Vice President and General Manager of Evangeline Downs. "We hope that Trees of Hope will become a much-anticipated tradition in this community, and we look forward to seeing displays that grow more creative and festive each year."
The trees will be on display through December 25th. Voting will conclude December 18, and the awards ceremony will be held at Evangeline Downs on December 20th at 7 pm.
Participants in this year's contest are: American Heart Association; Autism Society of Acadiana; Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana; March of Dimes; Creole Heritage Inc.; Grand Coteau Cultural Foundation; Opelousas General Health System - Paint the Town Pink; Opelousas Kiwanis Club; Opelousas Main Street; Racing Employee Assistance Program; Rotary Club of Opelousas; St. Landry-Evangeline Sexual Assault Center; Opelousas Lighthouse Mission; United Way-St. Landry/Evangeline; and Curry Golden American Auxiliary - Unit 514.