Festival of Trees Planning is a Year-Round Endeavor

In sync with this year’s theme, Holiday Traditions, the Preview Gala will again be a formal affair on Friday, November 29 with the kickoff of the Festival of Trees. From 6 to 8 p.m., guests will have the first opportunity to view 100 exquisitely trimmed trees of varying sizes. Tickets to the Preview Gala are available in advance only for $125 per person or $200 per couple.

While the larger trees are sponsored in advance, Preview Gala guests get the first opportunity to purchase the smaller trees, from 12 inches to three feet, in varying price ranges. Guests will enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and signature cocktails in the Gold Ballroom at The Tidewater Inn while listening to the piano tunes of the talented Joan Dent. Dale Jafari and Gail Shorter serve as Gala Chairmen.

According to Dale, “There is no better way to kick off the magic of the holiday season than through the Festival of Trees Preview Party on Friday, November 29. You will find food, friends, and fabulous trees. Don’t be late; we are planning a little surprise for all to enjoy. Help us to help those who benefit from Hospice care in Talbot County. This is THE event you don’t want to miss. We can’t wait to see you there.”

Regarding the theme, Festival of Trees co-chairman Karla Wieland-Cherry said, “For me personally, after visiting Colonial Williamsburg last year at Christmas, I just fell in love with the beautiful wreaths and holiday decorations that had a simple historic tradition to them with the use of all the greenery, fruits and vegetables and historic household items of teapots, dolls, mugs that just had so much charm and style everywhere you look. That’s why I wanted to go with that theme.”

Soon, tickets to the Preview Gala will go on sale at www.festival-of-trees.org.

Friends of Hospice was formed in 1984 and began hosting the Festival of Trees in 1986 to raise money for the Talbot Hospice Foundation. To date, over $3.6 million has been raised by the Festival of Trees to assist with Talbot Hospice’s operating budget.

Planning for the 39th Festival of Trees is well under way. Festival of Trees is the largest fundraiser for the Friends of Hospice to benefit Talbot Hospice. Festival of Trees will be held November 30 through December 3. In addition to the Preview Gala, signature events include Festival of Trees, Carols by Candlelight, Santa 5K Run, and Santa’s Workshop. Other events will be announced soon.

Attending a recent Festival of Trees committee meeting were Gail Shorter (left), Pam Pardun, Midge Menzies, Dana McGrath, Karla Wieland-Cherry, Jennifer Latham, Denise Haddaway, Randy Decker, Nancy Phillips, Pat Harvey, Susan Wendt, and Ursula and Ben Milone.
Photograph courtesy of Randy Bachand, Festival of Trees volunteer photographer.

At last year’s Gala event, guests were treated to a light show, of sorts. Chairman of floor detail, Pat Harvey, worked with Carrion Electric so that once all the guests arrived, every tree lit up simultaneously for a show stopping display. Karla promises big things for this year. “We are kicking it up a notch to add something new this year during the Gala, but you have to be there to see how beautiful it will be.”

Dale Jafari, alongside her husband, Reza, understood the assignment. Dale dressed in the Victorian theme at the 2023 Preview Gala to align with the Festival of Trees theme.

Each year, a big highlight that people look forward to are the beautifully decorated trees at the Tidewater Inn. Chairman of the large trees, Rebecca Saduk, shared some of the tree themes to date: A Starry Christmas, Letters to Santa and Advent Calendar, Santa Stop Here, Mele Kalikimaka, Sweet Gingerbread Christmas, A Visit from St. Nicholas, Advent, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Visions of Sugarplums, and A Christmas Story.

As a celebration of life for those who have received Hospice care during the past year, the continued success of Festival of Trees is made possible by the generous financial contributions from local individuals, such as Tracy and Scott Wagner, and businesses, along with an army of volunteers.

Various levels of giving are available, from Dove Sponsor at $10,000 to Candy Cane Sponsor at $500. Festival of Trees co-chairmen Karla and Denise Haddaway said, “We invite you to be a Festival of Trees sponsor. Your generosity would enable us to continue to carry on our mission to raise funds for the terminally ill receiving hospice care in our community.”

To get involved in any capacity, or to inquire about a sponsorship, contact Festival of Trees Co-Chairmen Karla Wieland-Cherry at dkcherry4@aol.com or 410-310-8421 or Denise Haddaway at 443-995-4431 or denise.haddaway@gmail.com.

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