Festival of Trees to help brighten Big, Bright Light Show

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 14, 2017

 Attendees admire a decorated tree during a past Festival of Trees event.

Attendees admire a decorated tree during a past Festival of Trees event.

Photo provided by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority

ROCHESTER — The public will get a chance to bring trees, wreaths, tablescapes and a host of other items home for the holidays this weekend during the fourth annual Downtown Rochester Festival of Trees fundraiser.

“If you are looking for holiday decorating ideas or you just want to support the light show that we know everyone loves, then you can do both when you come to the Festival of Trees,” said Kristi Trevarrow, executive director of the Rochester Downtown Development Authority.

The event kicks off with a cocktail preview 7-11 p.m. Nov. 17, when the items will be up for auction for the first time.

“The cocktail preview just about sells out every year, and we have an amazing assortment of items coming again this year,” Trevarrow said. “Generally, about 70 percent of our items sell on cocktail preview night — that is the benefit of coming, because you get first choice of the items.”

The event, held at the Rochester Community House, will also include a strolling dinner from Kruse & Muer Restaurants, a dessert station by the Royal Park Hotel, and refreshments from Fieldstone Winery and Rochester Mills Beer Co. Tickets cost $50 per person, or $85 per couple, and are available at the DDA office and at DowntownRochesterMI.com/store.

The Downtown Rochester Festival of Trees will be open to the public Nov. 18-19, allowing event-goers to view the items for free and make bids on anything that hasn’t already been purchased.

“There are a lot of fun, different things. We have some elegant trees, we have a Pure Michigan tree, so we have some really fun, different themes this year,” Trevarrow said.

The event will feature over 30 artificial trees, six tablescapes and tons of wreaths, along with centerpieces and some new porchscapes, decorated and designed by members of the community as a fundraiser for the Big, Bright Light Show.

“This is our largest fundraising event for the light show,” Trevarrow explained. “We raise between $30,000 and $40,000 (every year). … It fluctuates, depending on the weather.”

Sue Keels, of the Royal Park Hotel, serves on the Festival of Trees committee, and she said the event is magical, with a hometown vibe.

“Whether people are looking for a twinkle of Christmas inspiration or coming to purchase a custom, one-of-a-kind tree, wreath or tablescape, it’s a great way to kick off the season and help support the Big, Bright Light Show,” she said in an email.

Keels said the hotel designed a “Joy to the World Travel Tree,” inspired by its Travel Like a Local program, which gives overnight stay guests of the Royal Park Hotel discounts at participating local shops when they show their room key.

“We also included an amazing vintage trunk that was repurposed and hand-painted by our very own catering manager, Jared Kovacs,” Keels said. “Other festive items include a winter chalet tablescape and an additional Christmas tree inspired by the theme of our hotel library, which is art, architecture and automobile.”

A few of the other trees that Trevarrow thinks will be popular this year include a farmhouse tree from The Meeting House, which will come with a chef’s dinner for eight; and a superhero tree featuring DC and Marvel superheroes and a coney party for 20 from Lipuma’s Coney Island. The event will also feature holiday paintings done by the teachers from Painting with a Twist.

Children can keep busy at a kids craft station offered during the Festival of Trees weekend, as well as have photos taken with Santa Claus noon-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, if they bring a camera.

For more information, call (248) 656-0060 or visit www.DowntownRochesterMI.com.