Well, with the help of two of my wonderful cousins, I was able to get my tree decorated for the Festival of Trees. With the back trouble I'm having due to my car accident, I'm so grateful to family for the help needed.
This Year is the 20th Anniversary of Festival!
For the past 19 years, the Peterborough Festival of Trees has launched the holiday season for the citizens of Peterborough and the surrounding areas while raising valuable dollars that support health care in the community. In 2009, The Festival of Trees raised $210,000, which matched the funds raised in 2008. This is a wonderful testament to the generous and caring endeavors of the Festival supporters.
In 1990, a small group of visionaries commenced a mission to raise funds for the Peterborough Civic Hospital Foundation (now known as the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation),St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation (now the Greater Peterborough Health Services Foundation),and Hospice Peterborough. The organizers researched the concept of the festival, and learned of its success in other communities throughout Canada and the United States. The rest is history.
The ambitious group of organizers successfully created a Victorian Village within the Memorial Centre during the first year and held a variety of special events to entice visitors to join in the celebrations and see the sights. The first year was a great success and the Peterborough holiday season tradition was established.
Well over 400,000 visitors from across Ontario and the United States have attended the spectacular festival and in more recent years over 250 businesses, small and large, have participated in various ways. Over the years, the layout of the 'village' has varied, themes have changed and new elements and events, as well as "pre-events" have been added to the schedule. Despite the many changes that the festival has undergone, the underlying objectives of raising funds for health have remained. The mandate for the festival is: "To undertake the organization,development, promotion and performance of an annual seasonal festival of music, performing arts, and related activities for the City of Peterborough".
To derive from the activities and promotional solicitations of the festival's donations, revenues and contributions of property for the benefit of health and care giving institutions in the City of Peterborough, generally, including Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation, Greater Peterborough Health Services Foundation, and Hospice Peterborough.
To distribute the revenues and income there from, to, for the benefit of, in response to, the identified needs of the health and care-giving institutions, whether capital or operating, in such manner as may be determined to the best interests of providing enhanced health care in the City of Peterborough".
The Festival Operational Executive Committee, the Council of Committee Chairs and their associated committees work year round preparing for the annual events. Over 1,300 volunteers are coordinated to fulfill the countless number of duties required to stage an event of this magnitude. Thousands of people hours are required to handle construction, underwriting,wrapping presents for the Silver Bell Shop, event planning, tree delivery and community sponsorships. The transformation of the Peterborough Memorial Centre into a magical holiday forest, and the organization of entertainments and all the special events within the festival attests to the amount of time, energy and dedication that the festival volunteers expend.
The Peterborough and area citizens deserve to be proud of the successful fundraising efforts of the Festival of Trees for the past nineteen years. This year is our 20th Anniversary; and the Festival will be held from November 23 - 28, 2010 at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. General admission times are also available from Wednesday, November 24 to Sunday, November 28.
It begins with House Tours where local decorators pick certain homes in the area and go in and decorate the people's homes with Christmas decor. There is also a terrific fashion show the following day. Then, there is a Preview Gala people can buy tickets to and those attending get first dibs on items to be sold from various people and corporations that donate the materials and the time.
This is my fourth year donating and decorating my own personal tree. The trees are various colors and the costs for the actual pre-lit trees are sponsored and paid for by various companies in our fair town. It costs a fair amount of money but I save somewhat by deciding a year ahead of time what color tree I want and then set about just before Christmas and after Christmas finding items for the following 'tree' year by getting all my items drastically reduced.
There is also a Heritage Breakfast with silent auction items and entertainment. After this event, there is still the Celebrity lunch for invited guests and people who purchase tickets. The following day is the Teddy Bear Breakfast and finally there is auction night. People purchase tickets and various and sundry items, both large and small go up for auction.
This year I asked for a black tree and decorated with whites, silvers, reds for impact. I was very pleased to have two of my cousins, Pat and Becky, who offered to help since I had almost NO range of motion to allow me to personally decorate my tree. I'm so lucky to finally live near family and the benefits that come from knowing you have both physical and mental support. Even if I say so myself, I was ecstatic at how beautiful my tree turned out. Someone else must agree as they purchased my tree outright the night of the Preview Gala. It gives me the warm fuzzies knowing it was purchased and what the money will help accomplish.
I enjoy attending the Family night and watching the little ones get so excited about the trees, the Candy Shop, the Toy Shop and then there is family entertainment from school choirs, soloist, and this year my cousin, Danny and his eight year old son Kevin sang. Danny is a songwriter, writes commercial jingles and performs at many clubs in the area. Also, on Family night, Home Depot sets up long rows of tables and provide for each small child something to make then and there and each child gets a small 'Home Depot' bib apron. This year, the kids got to make mini spice racks.
Many trees, gift baskets, decorated urns etc are selected for raffles that are held the final day of the Festival. People purchase tickets and at each item to be raffled there is a covered bin where people put their raffle tickets for the items they hope to win. Tomorrow, Sunday, all the items up for raffle will be drawn for and then the winners are phoned and a crew delivers the same day whatever raffle item a particular person won....pretty cool! I put my raffle tickets in the Crayola tree, the 5 Counties Children's Agency, the Home Depot tree, a couple of beautiful urns, the Little Caesar's Pizza tree. Each of these has many, many large ticket items promoted on their trees like $100 gift certificates, a certificate for a TV, a trip, years supply of pizzas, and so on and so on! I'd love to win the Crayola tree with all it's goodies. My grandson, Mason and my grandaughter, Maggie would sure have fun with all the goodies on that particular tree.
Great fun!........and a phenominal fundraiser for much needed items for the three agencies the money is alloted. All of this is done by volunteers. There is only one person paid year round to run the Festival. Kudos to all those who give in time, effort, money and enthusiasm.