Donation doubles prize pool for Parade of Trees fundraiser


November 23, 2016HARVEYS LAKE — The Grotto Pizza Parade of Trees is up and running for the 21st year in the main dining room of the restaurant in Harveys Lake.

This year the combination contest and fundraiser includes 29 holiday trees, putting the dining room at full capacity for evergreens adorned with lights, tinsel and decorations, according to Armand Mascioli, managing partner of Grotto Pizza.

At Tuesday’s tree decorating party to launch the event, Mascioli and Grotto Pizza founder Joseph Paglianite explained how the Parade of Trees works:

Each tree is decorated by a local business in support of a regional charity. Participating businesses pay an entry fee, which forms a prize pool that is split among the groups whose trees get the most votes by the time the contest ends.

Customers at the restaurant judge which trees are their favorites. They vote by making monetary donations. Each dollar donated equals one vote. All money raised through donations goes to the participating charities.

Last year the 2015 Parade of Trees collected more than $18,000. This year that total should more than double.

The Joseph and Erma Charitable Foundation — a nonprofit founded by Paglianite and his wife, which supports charitable organizations that serve Northeastern Pennsylvania — will donate $20,000 to be shared among all participants based on the final vote tallies for their trees.

The Harveys Lake chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society is supporting the American Cancer Society this year.

Four women who belong to the boat society took obvious pride in decorating their tree during Tuesday’s launch party.

“This is about our fourth idea,” said Janet Nash, as she wrapped, unwrapped and re-wrapped the tree.

Nash and her friends — Jacqui and Alexandra George, of Ashley, and Christine Gilgallon of Shavertown — favored a traditional decorating motif, with soft white lights and colored ornaments.

This year’s event is special for Nash, who traveled two hours from her Pottstown home to attend the decorating party.

Her husband, Bill Nash, founded the local chapter of the boat society. He passed away earlier this year and she said this year’s Parade of Trees will honor his memory.

The decorated holiday trees will be on display in the Grotto Pizza dining room through the end of this year.