By GWEN SISSON
Be the first to bid on the elaborately designed trees, wreaths and Gingerbread Houses at tonight’s Festival of Trees Holiday Party and Auction.
The Party and Auction will be held at 7 p.m. today at the Palmiero Center on the Mississippi State University campus.
Tickets will be available at the door at tonight’s event that will include live music, eclectic local food, beverages, live auction, and the finale of the silent auction.
Jennifer Gregory, coordinator for the 2010 Festival of Trees, said tonight’s Holiday Party and Auction will be an event to remember.
Tickets for the black tie optional event are $40 per person and $80 per couple. Tables of 10 may be reserved for $400.
The Holiday Party and Auction is a big part of the fundraising effort with Festival of Trees.
“All of the proceeds go to the United Way of North Central Mississippi, so festival-goers and contributors have a chance to see their dollars really benefit this area through the United Way agencies such as Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society, Brickfire, and many others,” Gregory said.
Last year, the event contributed $33,000 to the United Way, and organizers are hoping to meet and exceed last year’s goal.
Organizers said Festival of Trees will not be open for public viewing throughout the day to prepare for tonight’s party.
Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership Office, 200 East Main Street, Starkville; or the United Way Office, 1016G Louisville Street, Starkville.
Patrons may also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org  to reserve tickets in advance. Tickets will be sold at the door.
Advance tickets are also available for Saturday’s “Cookies with Santa” event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Palmerio Center. Advance tickets are also available at the GSDP office on Main Street.