To kick off the holiday season in the Lakes Region, the Altrusa Club of Meredith will be hosting their 18th Annual Festival of Trees during the first full weekend of December. This much anticipated event will be hosted by the Hale family at the Waukewan Golf Club in Center Harbor, NH, and will highlight beautifully decorated Christmas trees, fine products made by local artisans, traditional cookies and cider, and a special children’s event, all while benefitting local charities and community projects!
The Festival will open on Thursday evening, December 5th, with the Silent & Live Auction and Gala from 5:30 – 8:00pm. The picturesque New England barn at Waukewan will be filled with music, hors d’oeuvres, decadent desserts, and a cash bar, and guests will be able to bid on many great items contributed by area businesses. This year, the live auction will feature jewelry, tickets to the Capitol Center for the Arts, admission to Castle in the Clouds, tickets for the Inter-Lakes Summer Theater, Gunstock passes, and tickets to the NH Motor Speedway, as well as handcrafted items donated by local artists. Licensed auctioneer Paul “P.K.” Zyla will take on the role of Master of Ceremonies for the event, and Carol Lee Anderson will join the gala to sign copies of her book, “The New England Life of Cartoonist Bob Montana: Beyond the Archie Comic Strip.” Tickets for the gala are $25 each by advance sales only, and can be purchased at the Meredith Chamber of Commerce, Cackleberries in Meredith, Kara’s Café & Cakery in Meredith, and Fashion Forward in Moultonborough, or by calling 603 253-6995.
The Festival of Trees continues throughout the weekend and will be open to the public on Friday December 6th from 2pm – 8pm, Saturday the 7th from 10am – 5pm, and Sunday the 8th from 10am – 4pm. While enjoying apple cider and fresh cookies, visitors can stroll amongst over 50 magnificent holiday trees, which have been contributed and decorated by area businesses, nonprofit organizations, individuals, and families. One of the trees on display is Altrusa’s Literacy Tree, under which are dozens of books that will be given to local children. Tickets will be available all weekend for the ‘Tis the Season Raffle, where folks can take their chances on several fabulous baskets and one of five stunning “enchanted” trees.
Another favorite tradition at the Festival of Trees will be The Noel Shoppe, also known as “The Best Little Christmas Shop in the Lakes Region.” The shop will be stocked with an outstanding array of locally made whimsical and traditional items, such as hand turned pottery by Trish Eisner, scented goats milk soaps by Jess Storey, mustard and pretzel dips by Sarah Baldwin, beaded bracelets by Debbie Brown and chocolate bars by Winnipesaukee Chocolates in Wolfeboro. New this year are primitive signs handcrafted by Jesse Lacasse from the Prim House in Chichester. The Noel Shoppe has also gathered a wonderful selection of books for children and adults. Center Harbor resident, Karen Hayes, will be offering autographed copies of her two most recent books, “The Weirs” and “The Christmas Visitors.” Also, “So Fade the Lovely” and “Seven Canterbury Tales Retold” by Meredith resident, Peter Miller will be on hand. All of the wonderful items in the Noel Shoppe will be gift packaged, too! This is a wonderful opportunity to shop locally and support artists and the community at the same time!
Children are invited to bring their favorite adults on Friday, December 6th for a special interactive children’s story time event. George “Rusty” Locke, local storyteller and entertainer, will awaken the spirit of Christmas in an animated and spellbinding telling of “The Christmas Magic,” with a little extra surprise twist for children ages 3 – 8. Pre-registration for either the 5pm or 6pm reading is required, as space is limited. For more information, please call Mary Anne at 279-5529. Admission is $2.00 for children and $3.00 for adults.
Admission to the Festival of Trees is $3.00 for adults, $2 for children, and free for little ones 5 and under. The Altrusa Club of Meredith works under the umbrella of Altrusa International, Inc., an “international association of business executives and professionals who volunteer their energies and expertise in projects dedicated to community betterment.” All proceeds benefit the Moultonboro Santa Fund, the Interlakes Christmas Fund, and other Altrusa initiatives. Following the Festival, Altrusa also distributes all donated trees through area Christmas funds and other outreach organizations.
The Altrusa Club is grateful for the Lakes Region community, as well as the Festival of Trees hosts, the Hale family, for their generosity and continued support. Please come to Center Harbor this weekend to team up with this dedicated organization!
The Mill Falls Blogging Team