By Julie Huss
---- — It was opening weekend and the fir was flying.
Holiday tree sales are in full swing. Area organizations hope to sell enough to support charitable work in the months ahead.
Local tree sales made the list of “603 Reasons” why New Hampshire is special.
In Londonderry, members of St. Mark’s Council 104888 of the Knights of Columbus say even Charlie Brown can find a perfect tree at their annual sale at Chuck’s BP Station on Route 102.
This is the 24th year for the Londonderry Knights’ tree sale. More than 400 New Hampshire-grown trees were delivered Saturday, averaging 6 to 8 feet tall.
“We’ve worked with the same tree farm for more than 15 years,” Knights member Mike Dromgoole said.
Even the smallest trees find a home.
“A lot of people are looking for that little tree,” Dromgoole said.
The Knights cater to those with smaller needs, advertising “Charlie Brown” trees in addition to larger ones.
The tree sales will help support Knights’ charities, including supporting special needs children at Moose Hill School or donating money to local food pantries.
It’s a collective effort, Dromgoole said, with many hands pitching in to make the sale a success.
The Knights will sell their trees until all are gone.
The Londonderry’s Lions Club received about 475 trees from a Vermont tree farm early Friday morning. Londonderry High School students from the Pay it Forward Club helped unload the trees and are also volunteering to help with sales.
The Lions have sold trees from their Mammoth Road location for almost 20 years. Proceeds support the club’s charities and scholarships for students.
“Come early for the best selection,” club member Frank Holdsworth said. “We expect to sell out.”
The Lions trees are priced to sell, anywhere from $35 and up, depending on the size. The tallest offering could be as big as 15 feet for that special great room or space.
“We are very reasonable,” Holdsworth said. “We aren’t trying to make a killing, just trying to support the community. And the big ones usually go first.”
Londonderry High School sophomore Hailey Gilbert spent Saturday morning helping the Lions at the tree lot, and took some extra time to warm her hands by a fire.
She said it’s fun to help sell trees and support the Lions. She said she offers advice on selecting the perfect tree for any customer.
“Of course, my house only fits a 7-foot tree, but I like trees that are thick and full,” she said.
In Derry, the Lions Club sells trees in the parking lot at the Citizens Bank plaza. Trees are priced to sell, usually at about $35 each. The sale is the club’s biggest fundraiser, bringing in anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 for the Lions. Trees are sold during evening hours and on weekends.
Also in Derry, St. Mark’s Lodge Masonic Lodge 44 Free and Accepted Masons got a 400-plus tree delivery Saturday and sales began soon after.
“We had 35 guys here Saturday morning helping unload the truck,” St. Mark’s member Al Lamson said.
The trees come from northern New Hampshire and Vermont, through a longstanding relationship with a regular tree supplier, Lamson said.
Trees are priced from $30 up, depending on the size.
Masons are on hand daily to sell trees at the lodge on East Broadway.
The Derry Masons use tree sale proceeds to offer help to several local charities, including the Sonshine Soup Kitchen, Community Caregivers of Greater Derry, the First Baptist Church food pantry and the Derry News Santa Fund.
With a shorter selling season this year, Lamson said, the Masons are hoping all the trees will find a home.
In addition to tree sales, the Rockingham Chapter 3 Eastern Star is selling handmade wreaths to support the community. Wreaths are sold at the Masonic Lodge on East Broadway.
Tree sales St. Marks Lodge 44 Free and Accepted Masons, 58 East Broadway, Derry, trees sold daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Derry Lions Club, corner of Crystal Avenue and Tsienneto Road, open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Londonderry Lions Club, 256 Mammoth Road, open Thursday and Friday, 4 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. St. Mark's Council 10488 Knights of Columbus, Chuck's BP station on Route 102, Londonderry, open Monday through Friday, 6 to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.