The 2015 Granite County Festival of Trees

This year, we started celebrating Christmas early. With Thanksgiving still on the horizon, we had the opportunity to welcome the Granite County community to The Ranch at Rock Creek for the second annual Granite County Festival of Trees. Fifty decorators on 17 teams gathered to transform the Buckle Barn into “A Mystical Mountain Christmas,”the theme for this year’s event.

This fantastic local event allows friends of The Ranch to gather for “the season of giving” to celebrate charity, creativity and community, as well as Christmas. It is the main fundraiser for the Granite County Medical Foundation, a local non-profit that we’ve supported for several years. Our Mercantile Manager, Shannon Drage, sits on the board and several staff members volunteer their time to support its projects. Each year, The Ranch aims to give back to local charities that we believe will improve the quality of life for local residents.

A Buckle Barn Christmas

On Friday, November 13, decorator teams from around the county descended on the Buckle Barn to design their Christmas trees. The trees included names like “Snow Angels Among Us,” “Vintage Ski Vacation” and “The Brawl of the Wild Women,” echoing various local and woodland themes.

Our culinary team served chili, cornbread and cookies, while the Philipsburg Brewing Company brought beer to enliven the work ahead. The barn was filled with laughter and friendly banter—knowing the competition for bids and popular votes would be heated on Saturday night. When the decorators packed up and left for home, the Great Hall sparkled with a grove of trees dressed in their holiday finery.

Our Ranch at Rock Creek staff decorated a tree, entitled “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” We held a craft party to make yarn stocking caps, sweater bulbs and flannel ornaments. The topper was a handmade, tooled leather star created by Wrangler Mindy. The tree was offered along with a dinner for two at the Granite Lodge.

A Gala to Remember

Last year, we sponsored the Festival of Trees in its inaugural year. We decorated a tree, donated food and supplies and made a donation of $5,000 toward the cause. With one very successful year in our memories, we knew that the event would be popular with the community, but we had no idea just how many people would support the GCMF’s local healthcare projects.

As dusk settled on the mountains on Saturday evening, the Buckle Barn filled with over 250 community members ready to ring in the season. They toured trees, ate gourmet hors d’oeuvres and voted for their favorite trees. Attendees included a dozen residents of the long-term care facility at the Granite County Medical Center in Philipsburg.

The Granite County Medical Foundation board members spoke about their progress in 2015 and local providers were recognized for their hard work with patients in the county. Teams from the Walktober fitness and breast cancer awareness event were applauded for their exceptional mileage. This “Walktober” two teams from The Ranch competed in the event. Although we didn’t claim the top spots, we were pleased to be part of such a positive reason to get out and exercise, walking over 1,000 miles in the month of October.

As Executive Chef Josh Drage and Executive Sous Chef Ben Miller brought out platter after platter of food, the community members got a taste of what The Ranch’s culinary team has to offer. Wine and beer flowed and the barn was filled with excited chatter in anticipation of the live auction.

The auction lasted about an hour and resulted in raising over $19,000. The last tree to be auctioned was named “The Hall Tree,” and it was built from salvaged fence posts and rails by a group of local women who called themselves “The Hall’s Angels.” This bespoke tree was filled with hand painted ornaments depicting the local mountain ranges and surrounded by gifts donated by the people of Hall. We all watched as a bidding war raged and it garnered the highest price of the evening.

The 2015 Granite County Festival of Trees reminded us “the giving season” is alive and well in Granite County. The Medical Foundation raised almost $30,000 and the community came out in force to support a brighter, healthier future in these mystical mountains.

Images Captured by Ranch Staffer Tyler McBride

We hope everyone has as much fun as we did making our year-end charitable contributions. Read more about how The Ranch at Rock Creek gives back to the community. Follow us on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook to see how we celebrate the Holidays at The Ranch or inquire about availability for a 2015 holiday stay.