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Houlton’s Festival of Trees returns for eighth annual event, finds new home at Sunset Farm

HOULTON, Maine — It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Sunset Farm barn on Foxcroft Road as more than 50 beautifully decorated trees are on display for the 2021 Health Services Foundation’s Festival of Trees.

“The generosity of the community never ceases to amaze me,” said Lori Weston, executive director for the Health Services Foundation. “It is such a wonderful event. We all need the spirit of Christmas, now more than ever. Even if folks just come and stroll around, it seems to lighten their hearts.”

Trees of all shapes and sizes are on display featuring every possible color of lights. Some are disguised as gnomes, others are wooden trees filled with gift cards. Some stand more than seven feet high, while others are skinny for smaller spaces. Several trees come with a theme — such as music, fishing and Harry Potter.

Located at 436 Foxcroft Road, the change in venue came about when organizers realized that the hospital was simply not the place for bringing in large groups of people, since COVID-19 numbers remain very high.

“We couldn’t really hold this event at Houlton Regional because everyone would have had to be screened before they could enter,” Weston said. “We would have needed a lot more volunteers.”

Weston said she was put in contact with farm owner Dave Benedict through a mutual friend and after explaining what the foundation does, he agreed to host the event at no cost.

Last year, the festival did not take place due to concerns about COVID-19. In 2019, the festival raised $34,000 for the charitable organization. This year’s event marks the eighth annual fundraiser for the Health Services Foundation.

Proceeds from the festival helped the local hospital, area clinics, municipalities and area schools by providing critically needed equipment, programs, technology upgrades and medical options that, in turn, meant better care.

Individuals or businesses donate the fully decorated artificial trees, with many of those trees filled with gift cards and other prizes. Tickets, which are $1 each, will be sold 9 a.m.-8 p.m. through Nov. 21. Each tree is numbered with a corresponding ballot box nearby for people to place their tickets. On Nov. 21, winners for every tree will be drawn.

An open house will be held Friday, Nov. 19, with a fire pit, s’mores, hot chocolate and a visit from Santa Claus from 4 to 8 p.m. 

Face coverings are suggested to attend the event. For information, contact Weston at hsflweston@pwless.net or by calling 207-521-2147.

HOULTON, Maine — Sunset Farm on Foxcroft Road in Houlton has been transformed into a winter wonderland for the 2021 Festival of Trees event to benefit the Health Services Foundation. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — The 2021 Festival of Trees features a variety of trees including a multitude of gift items. Patrons can purchase tickets for a chance to win their choice of tree. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — Trees are not the only thing you will see at the 2021 Festival of Trees. Numerous wreaths are also on display. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

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