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Spirit of Christmas sparkles through Festival of Trees

Story and photos by Olivia Timm
The Christmas spirit filled Isaiah Tubbs Resort in West Lake this weekend at the 24th annual County Festival of Trees.

The three-day event, hosted by the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, showcases a silent auction of nearly 200 beautiful trees, wreaths, gift baskets and certificates decorated for the holidays by individuals, organizations and businesses.

PECMH volunteer Mary Leyendeckers, says this year is the busiest one yet.

Since she began volunteering when the festival began 24 years ago, Leyendeckers says she has enjoyed watching it grow.

Kathy McAlpine-Terpstra, of Everfit Studios in Bloomfield, and registered massage therapist Amanda Whalen teamed up to create the “Wreath of Health” – complete with $450 worth of massage therapy, fascial stretch and fitness class certificates.

“The first year we had 11 trees. It was just an idea that somebody had picked up somewhere on a trip and this is probably the busiest year we have had,” she said.

Jack Starkey has been the manager of the festival for the past three years and says when the event finally opens its doors, he gets excited.

“I’m sort of on an adrenaline high this weekend because there are so many people here. It is really gratifying because it is so much work [to prepare],” he says.

The great thing about the festival, he says, is that once people come by and see what it is all about, they tend to come back year after year – and it is rewarding for the volunteers to see people appreciating all the work that goes into it.

PECI student Abby Heffernan’s colourful tree.

The festival also offers a Christmas Boutique from the volunteers at Picton’s Second Time Around shop, featuring jewelry, special clothing items and toys collected throughout the year especially for the event.

Another highlight is the annual sale of baked goods, jams, jellies, pickles and preserves prepared by the auxiliary members set up in Macdonald Hall.

Visitors enjoyed an array of live entertainment throughout the festival and children (of all ages) visited and had photographs taken with Santa.

The event’s fundraising this year will help acquire mandatory cancer care unit equipment for the Picton Hospital’s endoscopy unit.

Volunteers from the PECMH Auxiliary unpack preserves and jams in Macdonald Hall.

Waupoos Estate Winery had a beautiful display of gift baskets and County favourites.

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