By Debbie Adams
The Vinton History Museum and Mark Frye of Creative Occasions Events, Flowers, and Gifts have been recognized by the Roanoke Valley United Way for their entries in the 2023 Hotel Roanoke Fashions for Evergreens competition. This is an annual fundraiser for the United Way. Frye was also invited to decorate the prestigious lobby tree at the hotel.
The history museum tree—“Treedazzled”—featured ornaments handmade by volunteers at the museum over a period of several months. The Creative Occasions tree featured none other than “Barbie” and her glamorous accessories.
Over 25 organizations participated in this year’s Fashions for Evergreens, decorating their trees in the hotel lobby and hallways just in time for Thanksgiving. The public was invited to tour the display through New Year’s Day and vote for their favorite–in person or online–with donations going to the United Way.
According to the Hotel Roanoke, “Thanks to the community’s kindness and support, the event continues to bring the region together to celebrate the season, assist neighbors in need and build a better community. United Way of Roanoke Valley, United for ALICE will receive $5,892.54 from the Fashions for Evergreens event.
Professional judges announced this year’s winners at an Award’s Show and reception at the hotel on Jan. 10, along with the People’s Choice Awards—determined by the donations collected.
Judges’ winners included:
- 1st Place: Creative Occasions Events, Flowers & Gifts (Mark Frye of Vinton)
- 2nd Place: Bricks 4 Kidz
- 3rd Place: Roanoke Council of Garden Clubs
- 4th Place: Easter Seals UCP
- 5th Place: Orvis
The People’s Choice Awards went to:
- 1st Place: Roanoke Council of Garden Clubs
- 2nd Place: Easter Seals UCP
- 3rd Place: Creative Occasions Events, Flowers, and Gifts
- 4th Place: Vinton History Museum
- 5th Place: The Veteran’s Tree
This is the third year the Vinton History Museum has entered a tree in the competition. After winning second place in 2021, the organization is automatically invited back each year.
Participants in the 2023 Fashions for Evergreens included: United Way of Roanoke Valley, Ronald McDonald House Charities of SWVA, MW Construction, Roanoke Council of Garden Clubs, Catawba Hospital, First Home Care, Cornerstone Building Brands, Sirens & Salutes, Member of Ladies Oriental Shrine of N.A., Blue Ridge Wrecker Service, Creative Occasions Events, Flowers & Gifts, The Academy, YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Moms in Motion, Carilion Hospice, Orvis, Veteran’s Tree, Sweet Baby Blue Boutique, Bricks 4 Kidz, Vinton History Museum, Easter Seals UCB, South Roanoke Nursing Home, Greene Memorial United Methodist Church, Perrywinkle Toys, Girls on the Run, ANW Wireless US Cellular Agent, Parks Automotive Group, Old Dominion Eye Foundation, and LifeNet Health.
The history museum volunteers repurposed handmade crocheted doilies and costume jewelry donated by the community to create over 140 ornaments. The tree also featured 360 handmade crocheted ornaments from the Stelma Gobble collection which is housed at the museum. Gobble worked at the Hotel Roanoke for 30 years until they closed in 1989 for a time. Gobble’s daughter, Linda Kreider, donated her mother’s crocheted ornaments (angels, bells, snowflakes, and snowballs) to the museum.
In addition to the ornaments, the volunteers created a display at the base of the tree which included a wooden clock representing Vinton’s Town Clock which stands at the Municipal Building along with several other bejeweled decorations.
The Creative Occasions tree was extremely popular at Fashions for Evergreens—in part due to its photo booth for Barbie fans.