ANGOLA — The Steuben County Community Foundation played host Thursday night to the Angola Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event that included the first, or so it was believed, tree auction.

Ken P. Wilson said when doing introductions there is some dispute on whether it’s really the inaugural auction or not, but it was at least the first in this decade.

The evening started like any after hours event with people milling about in the foundation building, enjoying food from Bon Appetit at Trine University and discussing everything from politics to families, careers and the weather.

The trees, all of which were brought in for the event from various chamber-member businesses, were in a tent outside so those in attendance could go look at each tree, vote for their favorites and plan on which trees they wanted to bid on.

Voting categories were for best tiered member tree and best non-tiered chamber member tree. Trees were labeled, letting people know which category they fell into.

The auction was a fundraiser to support chamber operations. A portion of the proceeds was given back to the community foundation. The foundation will choose a suitable organization to receive those funds.

Santa and Mrs. Claus passed out candy canes and a few wrapped gifts, then Santa made sure to do his part in helping auctioneer Matthew Kruse keep tabs on who was doing the bidding.

As the auction for the 25 decorated trees progressed, some of which had value of more than $600, everyone piled into the tent where Kruse and his son, Caleb, began promoting each tree.

In the end, the highest grossing tree was designed by Industrial Contracting & Engineering and grossed $650. The same tree also won best non-tiered chamber member tree.

Winner of best tiered member tree went to In Balance Accounting.

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