Festival of Trees
WINTER WILDERNESS SERIES
Festival of Trees Kicks off Grand County’s Holiday Season
By: Tyler Macleod
Only hours after flipping their calendars to the month of December, local residents and visitors streamed through the doors of the Grand Park Community Recreation Center Friday evening, eager to take part in what has become an annual holiday season tradition for the Fraser Valley community – the Festival of Trees.
As people young and old filed into the gymnasium, holiday music filled the halls while the scent of pine and fresh baked goods filled the air. Children lined up – some patiently, others not so much – for a chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus as parents sampled free food and appetizers or sipped on tall glasses of holiday cheer.
But lined up along the perimeter of the gymnasium were the real stars of the evening – nearly 30 Christmas trees, joined by wreaths and Hanukkah items meticulously decorated by local non-profits across the Grand County area.
Celebrating its 14th year of operation in 2017, the annual event hosted by the Fraser Valley Lions Club once again supported participating organizations by supplying bare trees and wreaths for each entity to decorate to their liking. The trees and decorative items were voted and bid on by event-goers, with proceeds directly benefiting both the Lions Club and the respective local non-profits.
The event proved to not only be a great way to spark some holiday cheer across the Fraser Valley, but even more so, to provide a festive outlet that annually brings local organizations together with the community members who support them.
Last year, in 2016, over 800 visitors were in attendance. But with a packed house from start to finish on Friday, 2017 even looked to top those numbers. Like years in the past, the Festival of Trees was a completely free event aimed at providing a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere to kick off the holiday season.
As the event drew to its close around 8 p.m., individuals and families trickled back to their cars beneath the glimmer of Winter Park’s freshly hung Christmas lights. And despite only being the first day of December, there was already a distinctive sense of holiday cheer lingering in the rocky mountain air – the result of an honored holiday tradition in this tightly-knit mountain community.
Click Here for information on where to cut your own Christmas Tree.
An East Coast transplant, Tyler grew up just north of Baltimore, Md., where he studied Journalism and New Media at nearby Towson University. He moved to Grand County in the fall of 2011, and aside from a brief stint in Bozeman, Mont., has called the Fraser Valley home ever since. Currently, he is a freelance writer and photographer who spends the majority of his free time snowboarding, cycling, and hanging out at the local skatepark. Tyler recently became an owner-partner of Visit Winter Park Magazine and heads up writing and sales.