Festival of Trees to raise funds for The Big, Bright Light Show

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 17, 2015

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ROCHESTER — The community is invited to bring trees, tablescapes and a host of other items home for the holidays this weekend during the second annual Downtown Rochester Festival of Trees fundraiser.

The event kicks off with a cocktail preview 7-11 p.m. Nov. 20, where the items will be up for auction for the first time.

Downtown Development Authority Director Kristi Trevarrow said the cocktail preview allows the public to get a first look at, and bid on, close to 90 artificial trees, wreaths, stockings, centerpieces and tablescapes decorated and designed by members of the community as a fundraiser for The Big, Bright Light Show.

The event, held at the Rochester Community House, will also include a strolling dinner from Kruse & Muer Restaurants and the Royal Park Hotel, and refreshments from Fieldstone Winery and the Rochester Mills Beer Co.

Tickets cost $50 per person, or $85 per couple, and are available at the DDA office and at Down townRochesterMI.com/store.

“People need to get their tickets as soon as possible because they are selling quickly,” Trevarrow said.

The Downtown Rochester Festival of Trees will be open to the public 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Nov. 21 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 22 for people to view the items and make bids on anything that hasn’t already been purchased. There will be a kids’ craft station offered during the event, as well as photos with Santa Claus noon-5 p.m. for those who bring their cameras. Admission costs $5 per person; kids under 10 years old attend for free.

Trevarrow said the DDA has collected 35 uniquely styled artificial trees for the event.

“We have everything from a Harry Potter-themed tree to something that is ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ to Star Wars and ‘The Polar Express.’ We also have a really cool snowman tree that is coming in,” she said. “There’s lots of really cool, different stuff.”

But what Trevarrow is most excited to see this year are the 11 tablescapes.

“That was something we did last year that we hadn’t seen done at any festival of trees before, and it was super popular for us,” she said. “They vary from a date night tablescape to a New Year’s Eve tablescape. They are going to be pretty awesome.”

Linda Gallaher, of South Street Skateshop, designed and donated a floral-themed tablescape for a child’s tea party for the event. Gallaher said she collected a number of vintage items — including a child-sized table and four chairs, which are included in the bidding package, as well as the dishes and linens — from various antique shops and flea markets over the past six months.

“It’s a unique event for downtown Rochester, and there is something really for everybody to enjoy seeing or bidding on,” Gallaher said of the event.

Trevarrow said the debut of the Festival of Trees last year proved to be amazing, and she is hoping this year will also be a success.

“The response was absolutely overwhelming. During the cocktail preview on Friday night, 75 percent of our items sold, and the rest were sold by the end of the day on Sunday. We had thousands of people come through to see them, and it was just a really great event and a great response from the community.”

One hundred percent of the proceeds from both events will benefit The Big, Bright Light Show, which will light up downtown Rochester Nov. 23.

For more information about the Festival of Trees, call the DDA at (248) 656-0060.

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