Christmas Tree Marketplace arrives soon

November 18, 2018

The Permian High School Band Booster Club is always looking for ways to raise funds for students and they’re hoping the Christmas Tree Market, coming up Friday through Dec. 16, will prove successful.

Parks Legado Town Center, 7260 E. Highway 191, has been the spot for a farmers’ market, but Director of Bands Jeff Whitaker said this is the first time it has hosted something like this.

“At the beginning of the year, they sent out requests saying they wanted to do something for the community and help out organizations and our booster club jumped at the chance. … We have a really hard-working, strong booster club. They decided to jump at this,” Whitaker said.

He added that Collin Sewell wanted to do something for community organizations in schools and this will help the students and the band program.

Band Booster President Molly Hernandez said the sale will last through Dec. 16. If there are trees left, it will go through Dec. 20. The event will be in the courtyard area between Proof and Cork & Pig Tavern.

The sale will include about 300 trees, appearances by Santa Claus, garlands, music, wreaths, hayrides, vendors, MOJO gear, Toys for Tots and West Texas Food Bank drop-offs. Student groups will also perform.

Hernandez said 100 to 150 students will be involved, not including students who will perform. They will work in shifts and parents will participate, she added.

“Some of them are doubling up, but everybody has the same opportunity. We do what’s called Remind 101. We’ll do that and the kids can text in and say, ‘Hey, I want to work this.’ I’ve already had parents contact me,” Hernandez said.

She added that a group of fathers were going to help unload Christmas trees on Saturday.

“It’s just a whole group effort and everybody is just so willing. Everybody’s excited about it,” Hernandez said.

In general, she said, the boosters have been “super excited” the past couple of years.

“They see what our directors do. That’s our whole, sole purpose is we want to take as much off of them so they can do what they’re supposed to do, which is teach our kids. Then we just provide the support, and if they need to get clinicians or whatever we can provide that for them so they can do what they need to do and we’ll take care of the rest,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said Sewell, president of The Sewell Family of Companies, and Andrew Marshall, marketing coordinator for Sewell, talked about what could be done and Marshall settled on benefitting the bands.

Hernandez said Marshall was in band when he was in high school.

“It’s a brand-new endeavor, so we have no idea how much we’re going to make, or if we’ll make anything because there is a possibility that we might do all this work and just break even. I doubt it, but you know I still want to look at worst-case scenario to best-case scenario,” Hernandez added.

Warren Millard, who has a tree farm outside Black River, Wis., is providing the trees. Hernandez said now that Millard has heard about Permian’s effort, he’s committed to them for the next three years.

“… He purchased all the trees and it’s with the understanding that as we’re selling the trees we’re going to pay off what the cost of the trees are. After that’s done, all the profit is ours. … It will go into their student accounts,” Hernandez said, to help pay for travel or other needs.

Whitaker said the booster club funds a “massive” part of the band program.

“The marching shows that we do are largely funded by the booster club. All the props on the field, the flags, even the music that we play, the drills, the formations that we make, the choreography — that’s all supported and paid by our band boosters. We’re blessed to have a group of people that are willing to volunteer their hours and time to (pull) that off,” he added.

Marshall said the Christmas Tree Market idea has been on Sewell’s mind for a long time. He said Sewell wanted the Parks Legado Town Center to be a gathering place and this is one way of achieving that.

He added that it took a long time to find someone to provide trees. As a result, he and Hernandez said they now know more about Christmas trees than they ever thought possible. There are all kinds of things to consider like stands, tree preservatives to keep the needles from falling, spray snow and even tree shortages.

Marshall said the trees that fare best in this area, Frazier firs, are scarce. He added that he called a list of more than 300 possible tree providers and finally found Millard.

He said Millard usually provides trees for the Boy Scouts and for fundraisers. Marshall added that he had to convince Millard to provide the trees.

“It’s been a really interesting research opportunity for us,” Marshall said.

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