NEOSHO, Mo. — An annual fundraiser at Neosho’s Crowder College helps kick off the holiday season.

The 21st annual “Festival of Wreaths” was held this evening in an effort to raise money for student scholarships. Each year, the Crowder College Foundation hopes to raise $80,000 to $90,000 to help with dozens of those scholarships.

Two decades ago, the event began with the Foundation selling wreaths donated by local businesses, but today it has grown much bigger.

“It has expanded to be basically a shopping experience for people, and it has gone way beyond what we’ve imagined as Christmas décor. I think it’s an opportunity for people in the community to come together. It kind of kicks off the holiday season and allows them to be generous, and that’s what we’re most thankful for,” said Jim Cullumber, Director of Institutional Advancement for Crowder College.

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This year’s festival offered more than 300 items as part of the silent auction, and nearly 30 more in a live auction.

It’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Crowder Foundation.