Memorial tree, home tour return to benefit Portland Community Center

— In honor of past loved ones, and to support the Portland Community Center, the new center’s Memorial Tree and Christmas House Tour of the former St. Mark’s Episcopal School for Boys both return from last year.

The Memorial Tree Lighting Ceremony begins at 5 p.m. Among songs, prayer, hot chocolate and cookies, the ceremony will kick off with a reading of names in memorial of passed loved ones, whose names will be printed on ornaments that can be purchased for $5.

Event organizer Carolyn Leeper said she got the idea from other small towns in Missouri that hold a similar event.

“I thought it’d be a neat idea for us to do that, so I mentioned it to several people who thought it was a great idea,” said Leeper. “We were very successful last year. We had a large turnout for the ceremony and a lot of people commented that it was very nice.”

Last year’s fundraisers brought in about $1,200 for the new community center, built to replace the old one that was lost to a fire. Though most major fixtures have been completed and the building is open for use, Leeper said there were still small things to do, including putting trim around some of the doors and laying down flooring over the painted concrete floors that currently make up the building.

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