Family Time: Stroll through the trees at Thanksgiving-weekend Festival

November 15, 2018

Turn on the lights, then turn off the lights — it’s time for Hiawatha Homes’ 33rd Annual Festival of Trees. The three-day Christmas Tree extravaganza gets families out of the house and into Mayo Civic Center over Thanksgiving weekend.

“We’ll have more than 100 beautifully-decorated Christmas trees with themes like Flannel and Frost, Unicorn Dreams, and Minnesota: Home Sweet Home,” said Crystal Landherr, one of the event organizers. “The 6- and 8-foot trees are underwritten by local sponsors and decorated by teams of volunteer decorators. It’s wonderful to see them all lit up and to watch families stroll through them.”

In addition to the trees, families can check out the festival’s Holiday Cafe (hot chocolate, cookies, apple cider), Gift Thyme Shoppe (a great place to purchase unique holiday gifts), visits with Santa (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily), a silent auction (bid on a variety of baskets), and live entertainment.

“We’ll have live entertainment all day, every day,” said Landherr. “We’ll have jugglers, pianists, singers, dancers, and an accordion band. Definitely entertainment styles from across the board.”

Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., is the festival’s Children’s Carnival and Crafts. Families buy punch cards ($5 each or 5 for $20) to do, glue and bounce.

“It’s crafts and a full-size carnival” said Landherr. “We’ll have bounce houses, toss the ring on the reindeer, and the opportunity for kids to create a personalized ornament.”

Throughout its 33 years, Festival of Trees has raised more than $3.5 million. The money raised at this event goes to support Hiawatha Homes’ mission to provide quality support service to people with disabilities at home and in their community.

“The community continues to embrace and support our mission each year, and fundraising totals continue to increase” said Landherr. “The funds raised help support over 120 individuals supported by Hiawatha Homes in our community-based homes, in-home support, respite services, or SKIP and LEEP programs. This may mean purchasing a new piece of technology or equipment, maintaining one of our 23 properties, or help support our pet therapy program. Everything we do at Hiawatha Homes is very person-centered.”

Admission to the festival is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children age 2 to 12.

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