Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Festival of Trees - 2011

Last year I spent a good deal of time explaining it all here and since feelings are especially tender this year, for a couple of reasons, I'm just gonna share it all in pictures and minor commentary.

First off is decorating day.  It's the day where anyone who is placing a tree, wreath, or other item brings their things and sets it all up.  Everything has to pass inspection (ornaments glued or wired on, lights working, appropriate stand and pole, etc)  So in addition to decorators, there are several volunteers there working to make sure it all gets done just perfectly.

Decoration day.  I didn't get many pictures since I was back and forth finding extension cords, fluffing wreaths and basically anything I could do to help Debbi
This scene of people, boxes, random odds and ends will be transformed into something beautiful by the end of the day

I had to snap a picture of this painting.  I think it's my favorite ever.  On the brass plate there at the bottom are the words "I do believe"
A lot of people were trying to figure out how they could get a bid in on this one!

This was one of the highlights.  Just as I got there, a news crew from a local station was doing a story for the evening news, so I had to wait until they all left before I could get a decent shot.  It was quite the masterpiece!

The next day is the bidding night, and it's invitation only.  Most of the items get sold that night.  Sometimes the buyers will allow their names to show who purchased it, or they can remain anonymous and simply are listed as "Friends of Festival"
In past years when I have had the opportunity to work these nights, it's either been in the gift shop, or small fry house.  This year, Splenda and I had the best assignment of all.  Spend the evening at Debbi's house so that Rob wasn't left alone.  Her grown sons needed to be home with their young families and she needed to be at Festival, so it was Splenda and I's privilege to go hang out with Rob.  The first night, he felt like he needed to stay up and chat, which we loved doing, but it tired him out.  We promised to make sure he went to bed the rest of the week.

On Friday, I had an extra ticket so I dragged Treasure with me and we went during the day with the intent of taking our time and enjoying each tree.

This cute spider tree in the small trees section.  I thought of Chloee and how much she would like this one!

The tree was made out of books with the topper a reading lamp

Patriotic honoring all the armed forces
It was titled
"On Hallowed Ground"

This jumped out to me.  Maybe because it's how I am feeling right about now

all things dog

No question that this was one of my most favorites.  All USMC.  Everything about the tree, I loved.  The dogtags, the ornaments, the colors......it was stunning to me

This one was made completely of tires.  Totally cool

Another unique piece.  It was a puzzle, but in the missing pieces sections were scenes from Jesus' birth.  Very well done

This is a kids dream true - I reminded me of Super Skyler

A piece had been added to the Peanuts themed tree - a real Charlie Brown tree.  Love it

Another military one about the Challenge coin.  I love knowing that Corb carries his own challenge coin with him.  A hard earned coin indeed.

This was another favorite.  Based on "A Christmas Story"  See the leg lamps, the bunny jammies and slippers, ornament made of bars of soap and famous sayings from the movie

The tree topper is a little boy with his tongue stuck to the pole.  You can also see the Red Ryder BB gun

Love me the leg lamp!

Okay, so I see this sign and KNOW that I have to get a picture of Treasure next to it

And I sincerely apologize to the people that I totally stepped right in front of while they were trying to take their own picture and then instead of moving aside since they were there first, I just went ahead and snapped my shot.  I think Treasure wanted to run far, far away from me.  I really wasn't being rude, I just figured since I was already there, I'd just hurry and finish up.  Yeah, I suffer in the manners department.

A tree made entirely of vintage barbies!  A little girls dream!

This is another favorite of mine. My cousin and her husband are firefighters with the UFA.  In honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, they did this tree dedicated to those firefighters who lost their lives on that date.  Behind the bookshelf that contains actual pictures from ground zero, is a flag displaying each firefighters name.  NYFD were contacted when they started and donated much of what is pictured here.  It was another tearjerker.

Then it was time for the Gingerbread houses
The Up house

A beehive.  There were actually four of them this year.  Each one amazing

This is stunning.  The theme is Madagscar.  Treasure noted it was decorated by a Women's shelter.  I am very impressed.  They also decorated and submitted this awesome White House one

The barn made me think of Chloee.  She has a barn set that she likes to play with over Skype.  Makes it kind of interesting : )

The camping one was so unique

Who doesn't love a beach theme?


This one was just cool.  Look how they used little bite sized shredded wheat pieces.  People so are talented

We spent time in the gift shop, ate a scone, sipped our diet coke and Treasure bought her hubby some fudge.  What a great afternoon just enjoying it all.  And best part? 
 Wait for it..........

there wasn't ONE TWILIGHT THEMED TREE!!!!!!
A good day indeed.

Saturday night is clean up night.  Trees have to be bagged and loaded onto trucks.  Shops have to be taken down and cleaned up.  Forklifts are buzzing around picking up pallets of things and loading them onto trucks.
Our cute neighbor boy rounded up some volunteers as his Eagle Scout project and of course Splenda and I would have been there anyway to do whatever Deb told us to do.

Fun for me, was that a lot of our youth were there, including one of my bestie YW!
Me and 'nae

No these were NOT our helper kids.  While it was pretty funny, it was terrible waste of shrink wrap

Brockie driving the forklift

The Peanuts tree all bagged and dismantled

What was once a bustling shop, is quickly taken down and loaded onto pallets

No one drives a forklift like our Deb!

A funny thing.  As part of prep work for Festival, some kids in our neighborhood started a "Candy Crusade" gathering any leftover Halloween candy or otherwise unwanted candy to be used in the Kids Korner and Small Fry shop.  As 'nae and I were sweeping up, we ran across a piece of taffy that had been at Tuffy and 'Tana's wedding but was extra and donated.  Small little co-winky-dink don'tcha think?

We finally left at about 1am, even though others were still there working hard long into the early hours of Sunday morning.  I have to say, this year was a success.  Sure, I haven't heard the actual dollar numbers of what was raised, but for our experience, it was another year of not just fun, but of service and lessons in humility.

Looking forward to Festival 2012!



Mae Rae said...

I wanna move to Utah and see your trees.

this would have put a little spirit into me, i hope it did for you.

Love ya,

Cherie said...

We have a Festival of Trees here too - It is so fun to see all the different decor jobs - some are just amazing!
I loved loved loved the whole Peanuts set up - that was just magical!!
The upside down tree was interesting and pretty cool too (where would you put that).

Very fun event and I bet it was a blast to be helping with it!

Sue said...

I posted about the Festival today too. That tire tree was purchased by my sons work!!

Such a great cause.

CountessLaurie said...

Such creativity flowing, there!! Looks like fun.

Mrs. Organic said...

I love hearing about the Festival's behind-the-scenes' work. I had no idea how it all works.

Garden of Egan said...

Oh my holy "that's a ton of work" M!
All I can say is WOW!

Garden of Egan said...


Garden of Egan said...

Ok, I think I can talk now.
I can't believe all the trees. I've never seen anything like it.
They don't do jazz like that in these parts.
I would be in heaven.

I think my favorite ones are the military themed trees. I'm thankful that after 10 years and so close to the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.....the two times that we were attacked on our soil....that there are so many who remember and pay tribute.

Hugs my sweet friend.

Garden of Egan said...


wendy said...

I think it would be so amazing to be a part of that. It amazes me how everyone keeps coming out with NEW and different trees.

wasteful, yes, BUT, I had to laugh at the boys playing around with the shrink wrap.

I am sure the trees had great emotional meaning for you this year on many levels.
You are a dang good lady !!

wendy said...

Tauna says WOW a lot (tee,hee)

" Hit It......." said...

I love the vintage Barbie tree and the USMC Coin tree too. I love that you do so much service. I wish I had more time. This is such a great cause.

tammy said...

People are so creative. I have a few friends that are always a part of the Festival. So fun.

Pedaling said...

it's good therapy to be involved in something bigger than yourself.
this is definitely something big!
I love the military trees the best!

DesertHen said...

I think this is the coolest thing ever!!! Love the Peanuts set-up and tree!! That quote about life beginning at the end of your comfort zone...WOW! I so needed to read that!!

Thanks for sharing all of the wonderful pics of this fantastic event! =)

Teachinfourth said...

It's been a few years since I've gone to the festival...I really should go again.