Festival of Trees looking for participants

T he Fair Haven Historical Society is seeking evergreens of all sizes and appearances for its festival of trees event next month.

The third annual Festival of Trees will be held on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10 and 11, at the American Legion Hall on Route 22A, South Main Street in Fair Haven.

Hours are 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“We’re looking for people to enter a tree. They can be real or fake, short or tall. We’ll take anything,” said historical society member Lorraine Brown.

Past festivals have included more than two dozen trees all dressed up for the holidays. The designer of each tree tries to incorporate decorative elements that capture a particular theme of their choosing.

Brown said some of this year’s themed trees include a “Shoe Tree,” “Barbie Tree,” “Food Tree,” and even a “Balloon Tree.”

“We had 27 trees last year, which I think is a good number,” she said.

Organizers are currently seeking any individuals, businesses or groups who would like to decorate a tree for inclusion in the show.

Brown said there is no cost to enter the tree in the annual festival as long as designers donate the tree to the historical society.

Other than that, the only requirements are a little holiday spirit and some creativity.

Brown said most people tend to have a little fun with the decorating process.

“There’s a few rivals vying for attention,” she said. “The Fair Haven and Castleton American Legion auxiliaries have a friendly competition to out do one another.”

Those attending the festival will have the chance to vote for their favorite tree, which will be up for the prize of “Best in Show.”

Brown said last year organizers awarded prizes for the first-, second- and third-place finishers in “best in show” but may change the format slightly this year.

“We may have most traditional or something like that, but the best in show is still the big award,” she said.

Trees are but one part of the annual festival.

The festival also features a basket party, music, food (including homemade chili, cookies and possibly apple crisp), raffles, and even an appearance by a Victorian-inspired Santa Claus.

“It’s a very family orientated event,” said Brown.

New for this years festival is a gingerbread house display. Brown said they are encouraging children and adults alike to enter the contest and prizes will be awarded in both adult and children divisions.

Organizers are also looking for people who are willing to donate baskets or items for baskets which will be offered for sale.

“They are beautiful baskets and have some really nice things,” Brown said.

The historical society will also have a display set up and legion members are planning to organize a “Support Your Troops” initiative where attendees will be able to design Christmas decorations with encouraging messages for our armed service members.

Proceeds generated from the event will benefit the Marble Fence Project.

Although the Fence Project is largely dependent on fundraising, this year’s festival of trees takes on additional significance because officials recently ran into unexpected expenses related to the installation of the posts.

According to Brown, the posts are easily broken when installed and in order to prevent the problem more care is going to be needed when the posts are placed in their respective hole.

Each post also requires a special bracket that doesn’t “bleed” onto the post.

The Marble Fence Project is an effort to replace the fence around the town green in the center of Fair Haven. Each post will be replaced by a marble post that can be purchased by local residents or businesses and engraved with a name or message.

Posts will be available for purchase during the Festival of Trees. Each post will cost $125 through the end of the year at which point the cost will be raised to $200 in order to gulf the gap between the new and old estimates.

Anyone who would like to submit a tree, gingerbread house, or donate items for the basket party, is encouraged to call Brown at 265-3545. Residents can also find further information on the bulletin board at the historical society office at the Town Office Building.

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