Get in the holiday spirit with this feast for the eyes and heart!
As the song from Mame goes, perhaps you are hauling out the holly, decking the halls, and have a longing for a little Christmas now? It is only November, so maybe we don’t Need a Little Christmas quite yet, but coming on Dec. 1, 2022 to the 12 South Main Street auditorium at First Church, the seventh West Hartford Festival of Trees will fill that void with the warmth of the holiday spirit. By design, this event coincides with the beloved West Hartford Holiday Stroll in West Hartford Center.
The West Hartford Festival of Trees is the brainchild of First Church West Hartford member Kim Carbone. In 2014 she had a vision for a beautiful festival to come together in the spirit of raising funds for the mission partners that First Church supports. Many volunteers have helped keep the tradition going.
“We wanted a tree festival that our church could provide to the community, with the support of the community,” said this year’s co-chair Ginny Vocelli. “The visitors who stream in just love everything about it. As a church, we are so very grateful for the support and proud to offer such a festive event!”
Since its inception, the proceeds from the festival are donated through First Church’s outreach program to Gifts of Love, Interval House, Loaves and Fishes, Foodshare, Habitat for Humanity, Covenant to Care for Children, FreshPlace, My Sister’s Place, The Bridge Family Center, and South Park Inn.
How Does it Work?
Those who have registered to participate will deliver their decorated trees on Nov. 27, so the First Church “elves” can set up the gallery of trees. For tax purposes, all tree donors will receive a receipt indicating that First Church is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.
Many businesses also donate gift cards towards the “Gift Card Tree” – a small tree filled with gift cards of any amount and folks have a chance to win ALL the cards (tree not included in winning it’s just for display!) For details, visit the church website.
The Night of The Festival
When visitors stream into the festival, they will have an opportunity view the gallery of fully decorated trees as well as put their bids on their favorites. Visitors also have an option to take a chance on the “gift card tree” which is in fact a bunch of gift cards from local businesses (tree not included).
Prominent signs and a program will identify all tree donors and tree names. Live music will create a festive atmosphere for visitors to browse the trees and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate, all made by church members and friends. Everyone can celebrate that all proceeds will be donated through First Church’s outreach programs.
And The Winners Are…
Church volunteers will text the winners the following Sunday. Winning bidders can get beautiful, decorated trees for their homes or businesses right as the Advent season begins. For those who don’t win a tree, they will certainly feel good about supporting a good cause!
“There is such a spirit of giving at First Church,” commented Senior Pastor Rev. Jane Willan. “This will be my first Festival of Trees in West Hartford and I’m thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful tradition. I love to welcome the community and this really helps kick off the Christmas season. As I like to say, if you like us on Thursday night, you should see us on Sunday mornings!”
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