The Star-Herald

Festival of Trees is a go this December

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The St. Apollonia Dental Clinic’s popular Festival of Trees will take place this year after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the organizing committee has announced.

The event will take place at a new venue, the Aroostook Centre Mall, Dec. 3-5, with a magical display of decorated trees, laden with ornaments and gift items. This fantastic forest of trees will be part of an event for all to enjoy and for some lucky winners to take home, just in time for enjoyment during the holiday season. 

The St. Apollonia Dental Clinic Festival Committee has been meeting regularly to plan for a safe community event.

“With a spacious venue, the former Sears location, the Festival can occur with a large number of trees provided by our generous sponsors,” Sherry Chamberland, festival chairperson, said. “At the same time, social distancing can be achieved more easily. We are pleased to work with Lisa Clark, special events coordinator at the mall, to bring back this festival.” 

Dr. Norma Desjardins, the clinic’s executive director, said, “It’s a fun festival and it’s our one big chance to raise funds locally, but it’s more than that too. The Festival of Trees has become a community event, a marker for the beginning of December’s holiday season. Finding a way to hold the event in a safe way was vitally important to the committee.” 

The event will require that masks be worn while in the venue. The indoor lobby area in front of the former Sears store will provide space for festival-goers to wait for their turn to walk through the trees in a comfortable setting. In addition, ample parking is available. 

The St. Apollonia Dental Clinic Festival of Trees was first held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Presque Isle in 2014. It soon grew to become a much larger event, with more and more tree sponsors joining the fun festivities of tree planning, decorating and gift shopping for just the right items to represent a sponsor’s tree theme. 

From 2015 through 2019, the Festival was held at Northern Maine Community College, with great growth and success. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 festival was cancelled. Having to rethink its future and in consideration of all public health and safety guidelines, the committee has decided to present the festival in a different format. 

“As always, we are finding that businesses, organizations and individuals are generously stepping up to the plate to assist this nonprofit children’s dental clinic with its one major annual fundraiser,” Desjardins said.

The committee continues to work on the details of the event. The Festival of Trees will be open to the public for viewing of trees and in-person tickets sales during its three-day run, Dec. 3-5. 

Information is forthcoming about event hours.  

To sponsor a tree or for more information about this event, please contact Chamberland at sherry@norstartitle.com

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