Arts and Entertainment

River Center raises funds for educational programs

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Raffle tickets to win 'bird lovers dream' cost $1 each

for the Sequim Gazette


It's all fun and gifts at the Dungeness River Audubon Center on Saturday, Nov. 20.


The fourth annual Holiday Nature Mart will take place at Railroad Bridge Park, featuring an array of handmade gifts for people, pets and birds, as well as craft activities, "make and take" holiday arrangements and wreaths, and a live-bird demonstration by the Northwest Raptor Center. Funds raised help support educational programs at the River Center.


"The River Center's Nature Mart offers so much more than a typical holiday bazaar and supports such an important cause," said Gretha Davis, event co-chairman.


Visitors can enjoy a complimentary cup of hot cider. A bake sale, introduced last year and back by popular demand, will take place on the porch. Inside, gifts and holiday arrangements will be on display and for sale.


Thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited, the raffle this year includes a blue hummingbird feeder made of recycled glass, a DVD on hummingbirds, a rustic bird house, a book on landscaping for birds, coffee mugs, shade-grown coffee and more. All of the items are placed inside a handmade wooden wheel barrow.


"It's a bird lover's dream," said Julie Jackson, publicity chairman, about the raffle prize, which is valued at more than $150.


Raffle tickets cost $1 each.


Last year, more than half of the proceeds from the Nature Mart were raised by the raffle.


Making table arrangements and wreaths are two of the most popular Nature Mart activities. All of the materials are provided to create long-lasting holiday decorations under the guidance of Sara Ellen Case and Tuttie Peetz.


Donations are requested.


Table arrangements and wreaths made from big-leaf maple trees and hydrangea leaves are available for purchase.


Another highlight is lunch items, including Sunshine Caf? soups, available for purchase in the courtyard from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.


Even the River Center's brown bear has a role in the Nature Mart this year.


"If you've ever wanted to be safely up close and personal with a bear, this is your chance," said Davis, who will be taking festive photos of visitors with the bear and "Rocky Raccoon" by donation. Parents can take their own photographs, too.


"We want people to come and have a great time for a great cause," encouraged Shirley Anderson, co-chairman.


The Nature Mart is an opportunity to make and buy unique holiday gifts, Jackson said.


Fathers can come help their children make a table arrangement for their mothers ... Grandparents can purchase sugary treats for their grandchildren ... And families can get out of the house together to simply make lasting memories, she suggested.


Last year, Jackson bought dog treats in a decorative bag that she took to her daughter's house for their terrier, Rumi, who responded by singing and dancing.


"It was so cute," she recalled. "I've never seen a dog act that way."


Jackson said she plans to attend the holiday mart in support of the River Center - and to buy more dog treats.


"It's been so successful because it's different than all our other events," Jackson said. "This is raising money for a really good cause and it's a fun family event."


Guests are encouraged to dress warmly for the indoor and outdoor event.


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