John Fornal was enjoying the unseasonably warm weather last week while decorating Christmas trees on South Third Street.

John Fornal was enjoying the unseasonably warm weather last week while decorating Christmas trees on South Third Street.

"Trust me, I've done this in sub-freezing weather, too," Fornal said. "It's not as fun."

Fornal is treasurer of the German Village Garten Club, which is responsible for maintaining all 28 flower boxes along the commercial corridor.

The plants have been removed and replaced with miniature fir trees, which will remain until warm weather arrives.

Fornal, who's been a member of the Garten Club for 20 years, was tending to a planter in front of the Book Loft, 631 S. Third St.

"It takes me about an hour a tree," said Fornal, who will have decorated five trees this year. "It's kind of fun."

There's one conspicuous difference with the tree decorations this year: the red ribbons have been replaced by gold, signifying the Garten Club's 50th anniversary this year.

The trees are always decorated in advance of Village Lights, a communitywide celebration slated for 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4.

Meanwhile, the Garten Club is holding a Golden Gingerbread Gala from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St.

Reservations are required. Tickets are $65 each and can be purchased at germanvillagegartenclub.com. The evening will include a full lineup of savory dishes and desserts, coffee and live entertainment.

There's also baking contests for amateurs, professionals and celebrities.

Participants are asked to make gingerbread houses, gingerbread figures, decorated cookies and non-decorated cookies. Those who wish to enter can do so by sending email to Jim Chakeres at jchakeres1@gmail.com. Prizes will be awarded.

Dishes must be dropped off between 4 and 6 p.m. Dec. 2 or between noon and 2 p.m. Dec. 3.

The desserts will be sold at a silent auction at the gala.

Will Eylar, who's in charge of the flower boxes and chairman of the gala, said the Garten Club has been active this year. The club spent a substantial amount of money redoing Frank Fetch Park.

But it's been several years since it held a major fundraiser.

"This is a fundraiser and celebration of our 50th year so we can go on improving the neighborhood," Eylar said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary