Feztival of Trees Coming to Calais

The Feztival of Trees will be held in Calais for the first time ever at the Knights of Columbus hall. The public is invited to attend and view all of the assembled trees and take a chance at winning any tree and its associated gifts. This tree was among those featured at a similar festival in Lewiston-Auburn last year. (Online photo)

By Lura Jackson

 

For the first time, the popular Feztival of Trees event is going to be held in Calais to celebrate this holiday season and raise funds for Anah Shrine and its charitable causes. The event, which will run from December 1st through the 3rd, will give the community the opportunity to see dozens of decorated holiday trees and to take a chance on winning any trees they fancy, along with its associated decorations and gifts.

During the event, the public is invited to come to the Knights of Columbus hall and tour the trees, each of which will be decorated by businesses or local organizations. Each of the artificial trees will be decorated at the discretion of the business, and any presents they wish to include will be stacked underneath the trees. The presents may be wrapped or unwrapped. 

After paying a modest admission fee for adults (children under 12 may enter at no cost), the public is able to view all of the trees and place tickets purchased for a small price into the buckets of trees they find attractive. After the three days of the event, a name will be drawn for each tree, and the winner will claim everything that is attached and underneath it. 

“If you’ve never been to a Feztival of Trees, it’s worth it just to see the trees,” said Dennis Bryant of the Schoodic Shrine Club. The Schoodic club is coordinating with the Washington County Shrine Club to bring the event to Calais this year.

The Feztival of Trees was first organized seven years ago by the Kora Shrine in Lewiston Auburn, and it has since become the largest fundraiser for Anah Shrine, Bryant said. The need to come up with such a fundraiser became apparent when the Anah Circus started to wane due to national concerns arising with animal acts. Funds from the event help to cover the outreach costs of the shrine and enable it to continue running charity events for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

While this is the first year that the event has been held in Calais, the early response has been tremendous, Bryant said. “I’ve had to turn businesses away because we already have so many planning to come.” With such enthusiasm about the event, Bryant and his co-coordinators are planning to hold the festival in a larger venue next year. “I encourage everyone to come and see what it’s all about.”

The Feztival of Trees will begin on Friday, December 1st from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., continue on Saturday, December 2nd from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and conclude on Sunday, December 3rd, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.