More than 50 Christmas trees are ready to raise holiday spirits, and money for a good cause, at Liberty Hall in downtown Lawrence.
The annual Festival of Trees is a fundraiser for The Shelter Inc., a local nonprofit organization that works with children who are in or are at risk of being placed in the custody of the state.
“We really try to talk about this event as a good fundraiser, true, but also as a really good way to start the Christmas season here in Lawrence,” said Judy Culley, the executive director of The Shelter.
From traditional firs to decorated bonsai trees, the festival lets groups and individuals show their holiday creativity.
Some groups have been trimming trees since the first time the event was held more than 20 years ago. “This year, it’s called ‘It Takes A Village,’” Linda Reimond, the preschool director at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H., said of their current entry. “We’ve had a fiesta tree, which was bright colors. And I can’t remember, it’s been so long.”
Other trees are being designed by first-time decorators.
“We think it came out pretty nice,” said Lori Johns, co-owner of Blue Plate Dinners, 4931 W. Sixth St., Suite 106.
Her decorating and business partner has high expectations for the auction of their tree, which includes gift certificates for the prepared meal service.
“We’re hoping a million, but we don’t know if that’s going to work out,” said Rachel Oliverius.
The holiday giving spirit and bringing people together are what Culley likes most about the event.
“I just really love the community nature of it,” she said. “Everybody’s here trying to help other people. I just think that’s a great thing.”