In order to get into the holiday spirit, I volunteered at the 17th annual Festival of Trees, located in Vero Beach, Florida, my hometown. I had the most wonderful experience! It was held at the Riverside Children’s Theatre in Vero Beach in order to benefit their educational programs. This year’s theme was Storybook Forest. Many sponsors and countless volunteer hours go into the making of this three day production.
The Festival of Trees was held at the theater and the entire place becomes dedicated to all things Christmas. There was a silent auction, with a fun item being an NCIS Los Angeles VIP tour with Chris O’Donnell. A huge selection of themed tall Christmas trees were auctioned to the highest bidder at the end of the show on Sunday, or by paying via the “instant buyer” option. Some specialty trees were: Owl Babies, Ice Queen, The Little Drummer Boy, Twelve Days of Christmas, The Nutcracker, and Little Golden Books (which seemed to be the patrons favorite). Table top tree themes included: Nemo’s Reef, Enchanted, Fairies of the Forest, Gingerbread Baby, Frozen, and The Cat in the Hat.
If you came to the event looking to do some holiday shopping, you probably hit the jackpot. Several local stores had exhibit booths set up, as well as a few from further away such as West Palm Beach and Delray Beach. Children’s reversible dresses, wine cork art and trinkets, hand-painted gifts, unique jewelry, Grosgrain ribbon bags & belts, as well as seasonal crafts, and ornaments were some of the gift selections. There was also a Christmas Shoppe solely for the theatre with some unique palm tree flower arrangements with handblown glass ornaments and delicious ultimate cheese spreads. Credit cards are welcome! Raffle tickets were sold throughout the event for a $2,000 grand prize.
All day long, the festival was bustling with activities. The entertainment schedule included a visit from Santa, story telling of “Polar Express”, “A Christmas Carol”, and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, student, choral, and handbell choir performance, and holiday music. Do not miss the Candy Cane Cafe with local sweet treats as well as soups, sandwiches, hot dogs, potato chips, and more from local restaurants.
The committee running this event has thought of everything including offering local community partner organizations should you want to donate a purchase (such as Gifford Youth Activity Center, Children’s Home Society, and Hibiscus Children’s Home) and how to ship your item in the event you cannot pick it up. Free delivery was included in purchases over $1,000, which would include high bidders on many trees. There is also a children’s activity corner which was a huge success featuring games, crafts, and a photo booth.
Though it is too late to attend the event this year, I hope you will mark your calendars and try to make next year’s show.