Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2nd Annual Rochester Festival of Trees

Cheer and community engagement lit up the festive evening

A good number of eager people stood outside the door, waiting for Rochester's 2nd annual Festival of Trees to kick off. The line of eager festival-goers was kept warm during their wait in Studley's Flower Garden shop, who repeated as gracious hosts of the event.

When the doors opened, they let in a four-hour blizzard of smiling people, happy to support event coordinator Rochester Main Street -- a downtown-improvement non-profit -- and to test their holiday luck on winning one of the many colorfully decorated trees up for raffle.

Nearly two dozen area businesses decorated their own tree for the raffle; each with its own twist of style. Sprague Energy opted for a rubber ducky themed tree, while event-host Studley's chose to weave a gorgeous and enormous large bow throughout theirs.

Sprague Energy tree

Studley's Flower Garden tree

Other businesses who contributed to the raffle to raise money for Rochester Main Streets ongoing community engagement included The China Palace, Athletic Instinct, Studio 109 Voice & Dance, along with several others, many of which also included gift cards to their tree decorations.

Mayor McCarley greeted those in attendance at the door, taking the five dollar per adult admission which granted the festival-goer five raffle tickets. The kiddos got in free. Once in Studley's greenhouse, where the trees stood, people could buy more tickets to increase the odds of them taking home their favorite tree, not all of which were decorated by are businesses: a few clubs from Spaulding High School got involved, too.

Spaulding High School Spanish Honor Society tree

Angela Mills, Director of Rochester Main Street, coordinated the event, and did so with resounding success. Along with the help of President Emily Pelletier, stalwart board member Jeffrey Bisson, and several volunteers, Angela provided a smooth, cheerful experience for all to join in.

Those in attendance were treated with beautiful singing from the Granite State Choral Society, an string ensemble, and even old Saint Nick himself made an appearance. Upon Santa's arrival, more cries of joy could be heard from festive adults than from the children -- it was a joyous night for all attendees.

On a side note -- it was a privilege to volunteer for the 2nd annual Rochester Festival of Trees. I worked a little table on the side as you walked in the door to the greenhouse. From that table Leah (an RMS board member) and I sold those delightful sugar bombs of all sorts that get made only during the Christmas season. Each of the snacks were homemade and donated by caring citizens, and all (save a special few) were sold for $1 each; we sold over $150 in snacks that night.

It was awesome: I got to meet all sorts of people and felt a little more connected to the community because of it. I'd do it again. In fact, I'll be there for the 3rd annual Festival of Trees in whatever capacity I'm allowed.

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