Join us for Garrett County’s holiday kick-off event, the Festival of Trees! Over the past 11 years, this cheerful, affordable family event has become a tradition for thousands of locals, as well as visitors to the County. Benefiting the Dove Center, Garrett County’s domestic violence and sexual assault services program, the Festival of Trees was developed by their Board and Staff, to serve as the organization’s major fundraiser. Since it’s inception, it has raised over $100,000, which has helped the agency to leverage State and Federal Grant funds by acting a match. The event was initially held at the Oakland Armory. The community’s love for the event prompted rapid growth, and necessitated a change in venue in the fourth year, to the Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, where it has been held the past 8 years. A committee of volunteers with a passion for the event and the Dove Center’s mission, meets tirelessly throughout the year to plan, improve and expand it.
“It thrills me that our major fundraiser is an event that promotes positive, quality, family time, because our ultimate goal is to create happy families. The fact that the Festival offers families a place to go to enjoy safe, healthy activities together, is as gratifying to me as the event’s monetary success.”, stated Heather Hanline, Dove Center Executive Director.
The Festival has evolved to include something for everyone. Adults and children are in awe as they stroll through the forest of decorated trees, wreaths, and centerpieces donated by local designers. Hours of Christmas entertainment is available through Frosty’s Funland, where children create keepsake crafts (this year’s theme is Frosty), sand art, and have their faces painted in holiday themes. Mrs. Claus’ Bakery is open both days, where children decorate Christmas cookies with the guidance of Mrs. Claus herself! They are then on their way to the Crazy Christmas Hair booth, where they emerge with styles from The Grinch’s Whoville! Several characters will make appearances throughout the day, including Santa, Mrs. Claus, Frosty, and Gingerbread man, as well as Elf and Elsa. Free entertainment includes SuGO interactive Lego robotics demonstrations Friday and Saturday.
Adults and children can get a jump on Christmas shopping, as well. Children can shop and wrap for just $1 per gift in the Elfenheim Mall. Adults can browse for hours through nearly 50 craft and artisan vendors, or purchase from the newly expanded “Buy It Now” area, which includes hundreds of quality items at great prices. They are sure to find the perfect, unique gift for that special someone.
A variety of concessions are available throughout the day, in Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, and the Kona Ice truck will be on-site, offering delicious shaved ice treats! For a truly memorable day, families can begin with Breakfast with Santa, to be served Friday and Saturday morning at 9 am or 10 am.
The grand finale of the event is Saturday evening at 6 pm, when the live auction begins. Registered bidders can relax and enjoy light refreshments and a cash bar by Dutch’s at Silver Tree, and bid on a favorite tree, wreath or centerpiece (free Garrett County delivery within a 30 mile radius). No buyer premium!