Christmas shopping. Curiosity. And to help provide college scholarships.

Christmas shopping. Curiosity. And to help provide college scholarships.

These were the reasons some of those attending the annual Crowder College Foundation's Festival of Wreaths auction, held Tuesday evening at the college's Elsie Plaster Center gave.

"We always come along to support the college," said Keith Lindquist of McDonald County. "Anything for Crowder College, we come out to support. It's nice to see the community so dedicated to the college and to have so many people come out every year."

Lindquist's wife, Norma, is a member of the foundation board.

Debbie Kruse joked she had three things on her agenda to do at the event: see what they had, see people and eat.
"There's really a lot of nice variety," she said of the silent auction items, which included the traditional wreaths as well as a hammock, bicycles, jewelry, gift certificates, and a television. "It's straight out just amazing what grabs the eye."

Christmas and curiosity brought Crowder alum LaDonna Parmley and her friend, Lisa Sharp, out to the event.
"I've come for nine years now," Parmley said, "and I've seen it grow from little to big."

"If you're going to spend for Christmas, you might as well know your money is going back to help others," said Sharp, whose daughter is a Crowder student.

The Festival of Wreaths provides funds for college scholarships o needy Crowder students at all of the college's campuses. The event included a silent auction and dinner, both held in the Longwell Museum, and a live auction, held for the first time this year in the center's theater.

"I think if I was a student here at Crowder College, I would apply for one of these foundation scholarships," Kruse said. "So many students need financial help and may not be able to get it from other sources, as they may not be a first year student, or fresh out of high school. So it's a good thing that these scholarships are here. The amount of money raised at these events is just unbelievable."

This year's event raised a total of more than $80,000, according to preliminary numbers provided by Cindy Brown, college spokeswoman. According to Cindy Branscum, the college's director of institutional advancement, all funds raised can be matched with a Title III grant. This Department of Education grant ends in 2015 and is good for a total of $140,000 in matching funds. The funds will then be endowed for 20 years.

Last year was the first time funds were set aside for that match program.