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9th annual Festival of Trees set for Nov. 30, Dec. 1 in Torrington

November 15, 2018

TORRINGTON — Shining lights, glittering ornaments, and handmade cloth decorations will be out for decoration and for sale at the ninth annual Festival of Trees and Decorations, presented by Gracie’s Promise, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Platte Valley Bank Community Room at 22nd and Main in Torrington.

Gracie’s Promise, named after leukemia-survivor Gracie Claborn, is a charity that helps families of sick children afford daily and travel expenses. The Festival of Trees is one of three fundraisers the organization holds each year.

The event was originally started by the Kiwanis, with Gracie’s Promise joining as a partner for a joint fundraiser for two years until the Kiwanis dropped out.

May Houser with Gracie’s Promise said local businesses and individuals decorate and donate Christmas trees, often themed, which are then displayed and put up for a silent auction. In recent years, the Festival of Trees has accepted other kinds of decorations.

“We’ve branched out into wreaths and table decorations,” Houser said. “It can run a whole gamut of different things.”

When Gracie’s Promise first began hosting the event, Houser said the number of trees they received were around 20 each year. Bud Watson, the grandfather of Gracie, estimated that last year’s festival brought in 30 trees.

“And then you add the wreaths and everything else and it’s closer to 40,” Houser said.

Since many of the items tend to be dropped off, she said it’s difficult to tell how many items will be at this year’s festival.

“We have no idea how many things are going to be there when we set up,” she said. “People are so generous, it’s beyond belief.”

This year, they added, the Goshen County Quilt Club will be bringing in a tree covered in homemade decorations. Along with the tree, new Christmas cards with painted quilt covers by quilter Mary Ann Smith will be available for donations.

Watson said the festival tends to draw visitors who want to take in the sights of the trees and the wreaths.

“It’s absolutely beautiful when you walk in, especially in the evening or late afternoon when the sun is low,” he said. “There’s lights everywhere.”

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