A Casper staple celebrating and raising awareness for Special Olympics and its athletes is set for next month.

Special Olympics Wyoming announced this week that its annual Festival of Trees event is to go on Saturday, December 4. The event is in its 33rd year.

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Its purpose is to "raise much-needed funds and awareness for Special Olympics Wyoming's statewide programs while educating the audience about the organization."

It will be held at the Clarion Inn.

The event is set to begin with a Happy Hour at 5 p.m. At 6 p.m., cocktails, hors-d'oeuvres and a silent auction will take place with a live auction going on at 6:30 p.m.

There will be live music and Special Olympics athletes sharing their stories throughout the evening.

The event costs $50 for individuals to attend or $75 per couple. It includes an auction of fully decorated trees, wreaths, stockings and items donated by local individuals and businesses.

"Upon arrival, guests will be greeted by Special Olympics Wyoming athletes, volunteers and staff," the organization said in its announcement this week. "Guests will then enjoy an evening of hors-d'oeuvres, cocktails and catching up with friends and family, all while appreciating beautifully decorated holiday items and bidding on them in the live and silent auctions.

"Live entertainment will be new to the event this year."

Masks are highly recommended for guests as the population Special Olympics serves is considered high-risk and is six times more vulnerable to the loss of life due to COVID-19.

"It is Special Olympics Wyoming's responsibility to create a safe environment for our athletes and their families, and our commitment to the health and well-being of everyone involved at our events remains a top priority," the organization said.

According to Special Olympics, their mission is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Currently, more than 1,800 athletes and thousands of volunteers, family members and friends participate in Special Olympics Wyoming.

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