The eighth annual Trees of Hope tree-decorating contest benefiting area nonprofit organizations is underway. It is sponsored by the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner.

Eighteen groups from throughout the New Orleans were selected to decorate holiday trees, which are located in the walkway area leading to the casino. 

Treasure Chest will award over $15,000 to participating charities, with top prize of $3,000. All are guaranteed a donation. Winners will be decided by public vote. 

The groups are: the Lupus Foundation of America, National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana, Alzheimer’s Association Louisiana Chapter, Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, Angels’ Place, Gwangi’s Family Services, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, National MS Society Louisiana Chapter, Dawn Busters Kiwanis, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, American Heart Association, Metropolitan Center for Women and Children, Share a Basket Foundation, Animal Rescue New Orleans, American Diabetes Association, Delivering Hope NOLA, the Rotary Club of Kenner and the Southern Eye Bank.

The public has until Thursday to vote for its favorite tree either in person or on the Treasure Chest’s Facebook page. The winners will be announced Friday at a party for all participating organizations.

“Over the last seven years, Trees of Hope has become a tremendously popular event at Treasure Chest, drawing thousands of votes,” said Rodney Miller, casino marketing director. Trees of Hope allows the casino to give back "in a fun and spirited way,” he added.

For more information, call (504) 443-8000.

West Bank holiday events

There’s a trio of holiday events coming up on the West Bank.

First, the German American Cultural Center and the Jefferson Ballet will present “The Nutcracker” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Gretna Cultural Center for the Arts, 740 Fourth St., Gretna.

Tickets begin at $15 per person.

For more information, call (504) 362-4451 or go to www.jeffersonballettheatre.com.

Also, the city of Westwego will host a movie night at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Farmers Market, 484 Sala Ave.

The featured film is Disney’s “The Night before Christmas.” A visit from Santa Claus is also scheduled.

Call (504) 341-9083 for more information.

And finally, on Dec. 23, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be the special guests at the Gretna Farmers Market, 301 Huey P. Long Ave.

The market is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday, and it always features fresh produce from local farmers, baked goods and arts and crafts.

Garden club events

Two local garden clubs will meet this week.

Australian Paul Hains will be the guest speaker for the meeting of the New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday at John Calvin Presbyterian Church, 4201 Transcontinental Drive in Metairie.

Hains is an expert in growing and hybridizing roses.

The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, email to bandrarose@aol.com.

Also on Thursday, the members of the Shady Oaks Garden Club will meet at 11 a.m. for a tour and luncheon at the Mayfair Home and Gardens in Slidell.

The historic home is owned by Suzanne Mayfield Krieger, a master gardener and member of the St Tammany Master Gardner Association.

Lunch will follow the tour.

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events in Jefferson Parish. She can be reached at ejbarkoff@gmail.com.