The Festival of Trees is the Arts Center’s largest fundraiser of the year, raising $9,500 to benefit general operating last year.
“The Festival is our most popular event – everyone enjoys viewing the trees and always comment on the creativity of the entries. I am very grateful to all those who donate a tree or give a monetary contribution to have a tree custom designed for them”, said Director Toni Molleson.
A beautiful fireplace mantle arrangement, suitable for a hunt board or dining table is offered for raffle and was designed by Sharion’s Silk Flower Outlet, a loyal Arts Center supporter for each of the past 7 years.
The trees run the gamut from whimsical to traditional and are offered for silent auction. A highlight for 2011 is an eight tiered wood structure called “Our Town” featuring handcrafted buildings by artist Elsa Patton. For the past 10 months, Elsa has painstakingly recreated the Harris Arts Center, Chamber of Commerce, downtown Main Street, fire department and vignettes such as T’Roy’s bait shop, a grist mill, hotel, farm scene, log cabin and more. Donna’s Hallmark shop donated the mat board that is Elsa’s building material and is depicted in a scale model.
“People are amazed at the attention to detail and marvel at the number of hours it took to create this unbelievable entry”, said Molleson.
An overscale pink dollhouse shelving unit was made by Chris Taylor Construction. Third grader Ella Reeves’ pink creation is titled “Magical Snow Ride”. A jaunty giraffe is the star of “World Traveler”, sponsored by Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, a Corporate donor to Festival. Famous book characters hang beside tiny books on the Literary Guild tree. A pair of stacked books topped by LED candles is the creation of Lee Linn of The Ridge Books.
Santa himself is depicted as “Chris Kringletree”, sponsored by Northside Bank and designed by Linda Sainato. The art students of Robin Profitt’s Calhoun Middle School class made school mascot “Buzz”. Art center volunteer Rene Keese painted wooden cutouts of elves holding polka-dotted chickens for her entry “Hen Pecked”. The true meaning of the season is reflected in the spiritual trees donated by New Echota United Methodist Church and St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.
There is a fishing themed tree, a wedding tree, a tree made from men’s ties and a tree adorned with ornaments made from wine corks by Tammy Johnson for T J’s Office Supply. The Harris Arts Center tree showcases flowers made from recycled plastic water bottles.
As varied as the trees are the offerings in the Holiday Market. Shoppers can choose from jewelry, pottery, turned wood objects, gourd Santas, soft sculpture dolls, whirligigs, reclaimed wood furniture, baskets and more.
“We hope everyone will come catch the Christmas spirit,” said the Festival of Trees elves. For more information call 706 629-2599.