By Kathleen Knowles
It is that time of year again! The Holiday season is upon us. There is no better start to the month of December than the Festival of Trees! It is a tradition that is in its 30th year. Every year the weekend after Thanksgiving, the public can view a fabulous display of gorgeously decorated Christmas trees.
How did it all begin? Jamie Guyor stated that Port Huron Hospital wanted to bring more help to women and children services. As the need became greater, the money is no longer earmarked for just women and children. Today the money raised goes to the current campaign of the foundation,”Rising to New Heights. It is a five million dollar campaign, which is in the last phase for the new
expansion at McLaren Hospital. This year the money is earmarked for the new Heart Institute.
Where do all these trees come from? According to Jamie, “There are over 50 beautifully decorated trees displayed, design by members of the community who volunteer their talent and time.”
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The weekend began on Friday with a Preview Party Black Tie Gala. On Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Festival of Trees was open to the public.
The trees were raffled off to those that attended. There were also 40 prizes for raffle as well as some of the wreaths. Tickets were $1! Imagine being able to win one of these gorgeous trees for your home! Some wreaths were available for sale as well.
In addition to the beautifully decorated trees, to bring out the Christmas spirit, music was provided on Saturday by the Port Huron New Horizons Band, co-directed by Patrick Dempsey and James Chubb. The band put on a concert which contained many of the classic Christmas songs.
Since moving to the Blue Water Convention Center, a children’s section was created. The kids could bring their teddy bears to the Teddy Bear Hospital for a checkup to be sure it was healthy. There were some which could be adopted for a small fee. They could participate in a snowball fight, decorate a cookie or listen to a talking tree. Many games were set up for the kids to play and enjoy.
Of course, one of the biggest attractions was that North Pole resident. Kids could come and sit on his lap and tell Santa Claus what they most desired for Christmas
The world’s largest inflatable heart was available for people to walk through where they could get a better idea of their own heart health.
Saturday night a Pajama Party was held for families inside of the Festival of Trees. They arrived in their pajamas to enjoy popcorn and a movie. A dance party was held for the kids. On Sunday morning they had breakfast with Santa. Each one received a new book.
The Festival of Trees is not only a wonderful Port Huron tradition, but provides much-needed funds to benefit cardiac care, which will undoubtedly save lives in the future.
The organizers of the Festival of Trees did a superb job with a magnificent display of Christmas trees as well as providing an enjoyable weekend for families to begin the Holiday season.
If you missed it this year, mark your calendar for the first weekend in December in 2019. Attend the Festival of Trees for a spectacular display of the most beautifully decorated trees you will ever see.