Altursa prepares for annual Holiday Happenings event

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

People in Portales look for the first signs of Christmas by watching the tops of tables.

Tables will have Christmas decorations with Santa Claus, snowflakes and angels as part of the Eighth Annual Holiday Happening event on Saturday in the Ballroom of the Campus Union Building located on the Eastern New Mexico University campus.

Altrusa Club members of Portales say the Holiday Happening event has grown a lot since it’s inception when there were 26 decorated tables in 1998. There were 66 decorated tables and more than 500 people in attendance at the Holiday Happening event in 2004.

Bernice D’Agostino, an organizer for the festivities, said this year there will be approximately 70 decorated tables. Each table will be decorated with a theme to it, such as John Deere tractors, 12 Days of Christmas, Retro Christmas, a Hawaiian Christmas, the McDonald’s McKid’s Christmas and Christmas Decadence.

“It gives people ideas for decorating,” D’Agostino said. “It gives them ideas to take home to decorate their tables. Altrusans work very hard to put on an event this size.”

The doors open at 10 a.m. and people can begin making bids on the silent-auction items and viewing the decorated tables. D’Agostino said the auction items are donated by local business owners. She said the Dillard’s clothing store in Clovis has donated a table full of items.

D’Agostino said tickets were presold for the event but there are a few tickets left. For ticket information, contact Dianne Parker at 356-8234.

People will be able to walk around the ballroom to survey all of the tables with different silverware, plates, glasses which correspond with the table cloths and decorations. Each table will have a theme to it and they are judged during the event.

During the luncheon the annual Dillard’s Fashion Show will take place. D’Agostino said the luncheon is being catered by Ammie Whaley, the catering manager for Sodexo and the Sodexo cooks.

There were 16 models in last year’s fashion show. The models walk from the front of the ballroom to the back passing by the people sitting behind the tables.

During the Dillard’s Fashion Show models of all ages will be showing off winter wear from Dillard’s.

Carol Fletcher, an Altrusa Club member, will again this year be helping with the festivities. She said her parents are coming down from Farmington to attend the Eighth Annual Holiday Happenings occasion while they are visiting family.

Fletcher said they are also coming down to see their granddaughter, Carrol’s daughter, Lindsey Fletcher, who will also be modeling in the fashion show. Carol said 8-year-old Lindsey had a blast modeling last year during the event.

“I think the event is wonderful,” Fletcher said. She said the decorated table segment is the biggest draw to Holiday Happenings. “It is such a big event to go to. People go all out to decorate their tables. There are elegant and whimsical ones. They (tables) are elaborate.”

There are approximately 45 Altrusa Club members of Portales and they use the function to benefit local charities. The Altrusa Club has a three-year commitment to purchase handicap accessible playground equipment for Portales city parks.

Last year, approximately $6,051 was raised and $5,193 went to playground equipment. This is the second year of the three-year commitment.

D’Agostino said Astra members will be helping serve food during the occasion. The Astra Club is the junior club of Altrusa and contains teen girls who serve as volunteers in the community.