PREECEVILLE — The Festival of Trees, hosted by Trinity United Church in Preeceville, is planning the 10th season of this community event for Dec. 6-9.
On Nov. 2, committee members: Lori Wolowski, Amanda Balyski and Miles Russell, along with Anna Russell met to discuss the plans for the 10th season. As usual, community groups, businesses, individuals, and church organizations from the area are invited to enter a decorated Christmas tree in support of a charity of their choice.
“Over the years hundreds of people have come through the doors of the church to experience the smell of hot apple cider steaming at the servery, witness the beauty of the Christmas Trees with their lights shining in the subdued lighting of the church, and then enjoy relaxing conversation with friends and neighbours, who take time to enjoy the tastes of Christmas goodies provided by Trinity United Church,” stated Miles Russell.
Over the years, the church has heard comments such as “This was beautiful,” and “It is so peaceful. I needed that.”
Some community members have come each day of the festival to be renewed and take time away from the busyness and stress of other Christmas or life events. Over the years, there have been 195 names that were entered in the guest book by those attending.
Throughout the years there have been amazing Christmas trees decorated with a variety of themes and designs. Each year is different with the 22-25 trees from returning and new organizations who enter the Festival. The variety of displays are fascinating, according to previous attendees. Over the years, some trees have been decorated with toy farm machinery or made out of books. Other trees display homemade decorations by children or adults. Some have old-fashioned themes. There was even a Christmas tree that slowly rotated. And still others have beautiful ribbons, colours, lights and decorations which catch the eye of the viewer. There have always been many creative ideas from the organizations and individuals who entered the Festival.
The original idea behind the popular event was not only to create a peaceful and beautiful space for people to be at Christmas, but as a way for the church to give back to the community by creating an opportunity for the wider community to support charities of their choice that needed support.
The tradition continues this year; meaning that for Trinity United Church this is not a fundraiser. No proceeds from the donations are taken for the church. All expenses of the event are donated by the church. It is hoped that the Festival will be experienced as a “gift” to the area communities as they enter into the spirit of giving, and the spirit of Christmas: a time of peace, love, joy, and hope.
The proceeds from the free will offering at the door or at the hot apple cider and Christmas goodies table (provided by Trinity Church) are divided equally amongst all those entering a Tree in support of their chosen charities. As usual, the decorated boxes for individual donations in front of every tree will indicate the charity being supported. Some trees will also be entered for silent auction.
This year, because it’s the 10th anniversary, a display of photos from the last 10 years will be created for the entrance of the church. Invitations to School classes, as well as special viewing times for Preeceville Health Centre Long Term Care residents and Preeceville Personal Care Home residents are being arranged. Regular viewing times for the public will be 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wed. Dec. 5 to Friday Dec. 7. And for the first time in many years, there will be a fourth day of viewing on Sat. Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The planning committee hopes the communities in our local area will be able to view and experience a beautiful space and discover a good beginning for the Christmas Season, as well as supporting a host of charities.