Bright lights and ornaments will cover 112 trees, while the smell of homemade cookies lingers in the air of the former Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln hospital building this week, as the Arts Council of Lincoln County’s Festival of Trees event kicks off its second year.
Thursday, patrons will have the opportunity to preview the Art Council’s fundraiser consisting of various trees with an array of themes, such as last year’s toothbrush tree or a school-themed design, before the event opens to the public on Saturday. Voting will be available for those wanting to pick a favorite area school’s tree, with donated dollars going to the chosen school for art supplies and other necessities.
Wanting to put together an event that was creative and unique, but one that also “serves the entire community,” the Arts Council’s board of directors brainstormed ideas to help get area residents in the holiday spirit. County businesses and organizations were invited to sponsor and decorate trees that they felt best represented who they are and what they do. This year, First Federal Savings Bank was a major sponsor and will be accompanied by other contributors and artists who will have items on displays for those in attendance.
Though the crew of TV network ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover show won’t be filming on-set this year, Executive Director of the Arts Council Kae Wright is confident and proud of the Festival of Trees committee for their efforts this time around, with the number of trees nearly doubling since last year.
“This year is even bigger and better,” Wright told the Times-News on Tuesday. “Committee Chair Holly Perkins and the rest of the members have worked tirelessly on this event to make it more beautiful than before.”
This year’s festival isn’t all about the Fraser Firs, however. A collection of gingerbread houses will be on display for the duration of the nearly month-long exhibit, later to be judged by a 29-year baker who has won the Best Baker in Los Angeles-title in the past. Denver resident Laurie Beyer has worked in catering businesses in both L.A. and New York City where she crafted specialty cakes and other sweet treats.
Contestants will be judged by Beyer on most original look, overall appearance and adherence to design rules. A prize will also be awarded to the winner of best of show for both the adult and children categories.
Also to be found this year are an artist market with pieces from local artists available for purchase, an art auction with proceeds benefiting groups associated with the Arts Council and music by Jerry’s Bones — a Christian/ folk band based out of Hickory. Poinsettias and other “live Christmas plants” will also be for sale at the event, along with trees, wreaths and floral arrangements by Kathy Somers which will be available in the gift shop.
A magic show by Rick Ramseur and story-telling are other features that will also be on scene, along with a “big surprise” that hasn’t been disclosed just yet.
The preview party will run from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, at 200 Gamble Drive. Tickets for the event are $25, while adults pay $5 and children and seniors are $2 starting Dec. 1 through Dec. 23.
Keep in mind:
Fridays and Saturdays, the festival will last from 5 to 8:30 p.m., and 2 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Dec. 21 is Kids Pajama Night, where children ages 12 and under who are sporting sleepwear will receive free admission.
Every Sunday, a canned food drive for Christian Ministries will be held every Sunday during the event.
“This event represents our entire community and is one that the Arts Council of Lincoln County is very proud of,” Wright said. “I hope that people who attend will be wowed and inspired by the lights, entertainment and all the creativity that has gone into it.”
For more information, call (704) 732-9044.