Festival of Trees: The Arc/Rowan's signature fundraiser comes to the Trolley Barn Dec. 5
By Katie Scarvey
This year, The Arc/Rowan Festival of Trees is back at the Trolley Barn. In its fifth year, it’s bigger than ever.
And it’s still free.
The Arc/Rowan’s signature fundraiser, the festival opens at the F&M Trolley Barn, 127 E. Liberty St., 7-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5 and continues 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 and 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7.
“It’s just a nice way to start off the Christmas season,” says event chair Beth Dixon.
The Grinch will be available for photos from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and from 1 -3 p.m. Sunday.
The festival began in 2004 at the Salisbury Civic Center with 30 trees. This year, 55 trees have been sponsored, Dixon says.
Beth and her husband Glenn have been involved in the Festival of Trees since its inception; in fact, the festival was Glenn’s idea. He and Beth had seen a Festival of Trees in Wilmington, and Glenn thought it would be a great fundraiser for The Arc/Rowan.
Glenn chaired the first year’s event. This year, Beth takes her turn.
The money raised helps support The Arc’s summer day program.
This year’s event will feature a Christmas shop with decorations and centerpieces for sale, Beth says. There will also be greeting cards featuring designs by summer day program participants. There will also be a raffle featuring various items including a quilt.
Some tree sponsors will choose to decorate their own trees; others request a volunteer decorator. After the Festival of Trees is over, the decorated trees are delivered to the site of the sponsor’s choosing, which could be a business, nursing home, school or the sponsor’s own home.
The Dixons are sponsoring a “Sounds of Christmas” tree this year, inspired by their daughter Grace, who is happily involved in her middle school band. The tree will go to Knox Middle School when it’s done, Beth says.
The decorations are as varied as the designers; Beth has heard that this year there will be an ACC tree, a Candyland tree, and an angel-themed tree.
“We’ve seen some wonderful creativity over the years,” says Beth, who adds that she always gets ideas to inspire her in her own home decorating.
In January, the decorators will remove the tree decorations and volunteers will pick up the trees to put them back into storage until next year.
The logistics of the project are considerable, Beth says. The committee meets year round and has to begin approaching sponsors in the summer, since their fundraising efforts can’t overlap with those of the United Way.
Beth says she’s been struck by how much effort goes into the festival, from running the wires to light the trees to coordinating the trucks that deliver the trees.
Corporate sponsors include F&M Bank, Sara Lee, Food Lion and Cloninger Ford-Toyota-Scion. The Arc/Rowan is grateful for how Downtown Salisbury and the community has embraced the festival.
For more information, call 704-637-1521.