By Courtney Barley

On Saturday, November 25th the Erickson Center for the Arts (ECA) will be having the “Holiday Gala: Deck the Walls”. It is an annual fundraising event featuring a holiday décor and gifts auction.
The Holiday Gala begins at 6 p.m. in the upper level of the Erickson Center building.

The Holiday Gala is the ECA’s second largest fundraiser of the year. This will be the event’s 18th year of spreading holiday spirit while raising funds for the Erickson Center’s events and programs. Many area businesses and individuals donate to this event to help buy supplies, making of handcrafted décor, and gift baskets.

Kelly Chamberlin was the original mind behind this event. Prior to moving to the Curtis area in 2000 and getting involved with the Erickson Center, she owned the Imlay City Flower Shop in Imlay City, Mich. Chamberlin saw an opportunity to help the arts center raise funds through a holiday décor event that she and group of local crafty women could use their décor knowledge to create unique items for auction. The first Holiday Gala was such a success, the Erickson Center and Kelly Chamberlin decided to make it an annual event.

Each year Chamberlin reaches out to individuals and local businesses for their support of the Holiday Gala. Some donate items and gift baskets they have or have purchased for this event specifically. Others are financial sponsors. Chamberlin then purchases supplies that she and the Holiday Gala “worker bees” can use to create items for auction.

Early November, for two days, the “worker bees” gather and create. Fueled by delicious, homemade butternut squash soup and fresh bread from Kaye Rasnake and her husband Tom Linscheid, a Bluetooth speaker churning out Christmas tunes, and good cheer, these talented women get busy. They craft floral arrangements, Christmas trees, wreaths, and other unique décor. The occasional “Ouch!” can be heard when someone inevitably burns their fingers with a hot glue gun. By the end of the second day, they had created nearly 80 items to be auctioned.

In addition to the auction, raffles and door prizes are also available. The very popular $20 Mystery Gift will be available, but hurry – the 30 mystery bags usually go within the first hour of the event. A cash bar will be provided where you can purchase, among others the drink of the night, the “Mistletoe Martini”. Delicious appetizers will be provided by Upper Crust Deli.

Tickets can be purchased online at and will also be available at the door. For questions or more information regarding this cheerful event, please call the ECA office at 906-586-9974.