ANDERSON — The flagship fundraising event for this year’s Festival of Trees has gone virtual.

With coronavirus cases locally and statewide surging, festival organizers decided out of an abundance of caution that the tree auction connected with the annual event at the Paramount Theatre would be conducted online for the first time in 31 years.

Bidding on 16 trees, as well as nearly 200 other items, began Tuesday and runs through Saturday.

“The community has really stepped up,” said Bekah Snyder Logan, who designed some of the trees and is helping coordinate the auction. “Different businesses and families put together baskets and other items.”

The inventory includes more than two dozen wreaths, as well as experiences like golf lessons at Anderson Country Club and passes to the Edgewood Pool.

Proceeds from the auction will be earmarked for ongoing restoration projects at the historic downtown theater, Snyder Logan said.

“We recently just went through the restoration of the ballroom and are in the final process of purchasing and bringing in new chairs to complete that project,” she said. “Any additional funds will help close that project up, and then we can move on to additional maintenance efforts within the theater.”

Those efforts include continued maintenance throughout the building, including upkeep on the newly restored ballroom. Organizers also hope the theater’s expanded programming — made possible after local business leaders and philanthropists Jay and Nancy Ricker paid off the Paramount’s mortgage in 2018 — will fully return once the pandemic subsides.

“The Paramount is truly a focal point for our community,” Snyder Logan said. “With all the growth downtown, it really has been instrumental in pulling people downtown and continuing to grow our arts community.”

Follow Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight, or call 765-640-4809.

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