The Inaugural "Easton Festival of Trees"
This Festival Is A Keeper
“To advance and to encourage the study of horticulture, floriculture, and landscape architecture; to encourage the education of gardening and the protection and conservation of natural resources, and to promote civic beauty and roadside improvement in the town of Easton.”
MISSION STATEMENT OF THE EASTON GARDEN CLUB
How much better is life when you have a passion to do something good, to create something beautiful, to bring people together, to make people smile?
This is what the Easton Garden Club (ECG) does throughout the year in town, in place after place, across event after event, and program after program. EGC members are here, there, and everywhere, planting and nurturing and designing and building.
Here is a link to the Easton Garden Club website where you can learn and read about the ways that the EGC improves our community.
During the holiday season, during a period of the year in which not much is flowering outdoors, and in which local natural vegetation slows and goes a bit dormant and sleepy, the Easton Garden Club is as vibrant and busy as ever.
This year the EGC launched a new event, one which will be annual. It is the Easton Festival of Trees, held on the Ames Free Library campus at Queset House, 51 Main Street in North Easton, behind the library.
There are four days left of the festival; today, tomorrow, and Friday it is open from 4 to 9 p.m. On Saturday, the festival is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Admission is $5; kids 12 and under get in free.
Twenty-five trees all decorated distinctively and artfully are arrayed across three large rooms within Queset House – the interior and exterior of which have been handsomely outfitted for the holidays through the donated labor and materials of the Easton Garden Club and vendors.
Each tree has its own theme. The trees (which, in accordance with fire codes, are artificial) are beautiful and grand.
There is also a gingerbread house and a Festival of Lights Hanukkah basket on display, and a “Giving Tree” and the “Lottery Tree.” A little further down, I’ll explain more about the Hanukkah basket and the Giving and Lottery trees.
I mentioned the Easton Festival of Trees in my Monday column. Yes, the festival is a winner. It juices up the holiday spirit. Let’s put it this way, the kids are having a great time at the festival – and when you get the kids bought in, then you have a bright future.
“Last year around the holidays, a group from the Easton Garden Club went up to Methuen and over to Wellesley to take in their tree festivals,” said Judi Bruno, EGC member and chair of the Easton Festival of Trees. “We were impressed, and we started thinking seriously about holding our own festival of trees.”
Judi explained that every other year the Easton Garden Club puts on a holiday house tour, and that this year the club was due to hold a tour.
“We were talking and sharing ideas about the house tour, and how labor intensive it is, and how it is difficult to make much money on the tour,” said Judi. “Since we were going to work so hard anyway, we thought that that work could be put toward a tree festival in Easton in which we could make a lot more money than the house tour, and that money would be used to do more plantings, support our scholarship fund and many other programs that help out Easton.
“We also thought that it would be great to get Queset House for the festival.”
Judi brought the idea to EGC president Kay Fulcher. Ms. Fulcher told Judi that if Judi wanted to run with it then the project was hers.
Co-chairs of the festival are Jeanne Ebert and Clorinda Hoffman.
Starting back in late August, Judi and Jeanne Ebert and other EGC members starting making calls to drum up support for the festival. They went out in the community recruiting sponsors for trees and decorations and services.
“If a company or person wanted to buy their own tree and decorate and bring it in, we charged nothing,” said Judi. “If you wanted to donate a tree, and have the Garden Club decorate it, the donation would be $450 for a four to five foot tree, and $650 for a six to eight foot tree.
“Just about everything, all the trees, the decorations, everything, were donated by people and businesses in the local community. The Easton Garden Club – we focused on providing the labor and work.”
What has been created is impressive.
When you get in the door of the festival, you can purchase for $8 a card that has 26 tickets on it. One ticket is a door prize ticket, and the other 25, which all hold the same value, can be used by festival attendees to win one of the trees.
“In front of each tree is a receptacle in which you can vote for the tree you would like to win,” said Judi. “It is up to you, how you want to spread y our tickets around, and hedge your bets. If you want to put all 25 tickets in one receptacle, that’s fine. If you want to put one ticket in front of each tree, then that is fine too. The kids are having a blast picking their favorite trees, and putting the tickets in the receptacles.”
Children 12 and under are given a free ticket which they can use to try to win the ginger bread house which was donated by White’s Bakery.
As for that Hanukkah basket, which was given by Alice and Alan Zaff, it has in items and gift certificates valued at $1500. And as with the trees, tickets can be used to vote for and try to win the basket.
There are three philanthropic trees that the Easton Garden Club donated. One of these trees, which has a Victorian theme, benefits My Brother’s Keeper, a local Christian ministry that donates food and furniture to people in need; the other tree, titled, “Angels in our Midst,” benefits the Easton Food Pantry; a third tree, titled, “Winter Wonderland,” benefits the Ames Free Library.
“People can use their tickets to make a contribution to a tree and a philanthropy,” said Judi. “When the festival closes we will add up the value of the tickets contributed and then cut a check in that amount to the philanthropy.”
There is a “Lottery Tree” which is, appropriately, very green in hue and decoration, and festooned with $500 in scratch tickets. As for that “Giving Tree,” it is very red in color and has affixed to it gift certificates that amount to $2800 in value.
Judi Bruno was enthusiastically doing a call out to various organizations and groups that gave generously and donated to the Festival of Trees, including the following:
- The Ames Free Library (www.amesfreelibrary.org) which owns Queset House.
- Audio Video Intelligence (www.av-intel.com ),which donated and installed all the intercom music throughout the building.
- Jim Boulay of Century 21 Realty Best Choice in Raynham http://www.jimboulay.com/aboutus.html, who exchanged his services as “Santa” at the festival last weekend for the Easton Garden Club making a donation to one of his favorite causes, The New England Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center (www.floatinghospital.org).
- Fairway Landscaping (www.fairwaylandscaping.com), which donated and put up all the outdoor lighting at Queset House.
- Fish Window Cleaning of Boston (http://www.fishwindowcleaning.com/595/), which provided, at a deep discount, a cleaning of all the windows in Queset House.
- Cristy Morgan and her company Vallee Design (www.valleedesign.com), based in North Easton. Judi Bruno said, “Cristy was incredible; she gave so much of her time – she designed our festival logo, our marketing and communications materials, and our signs. In that our marketing-communications materials were so professional, we had strong credibility when we went out in the community and worked to recruit sponsors and other backers.”
- The Maids (North Reading) – http://www.maids.com/massachusetts-cleaning/north-reading-cleaning-services/ – which donated a tree (that comes with a gift certificate for two house cleanings), and which also donated a top to bottom cleaning of Queset House prior to the setup of the festival, and a top to bottom cleaning of Queset House after the festival.
- MP Products (www.mpplastics.com) in Stoughton, which produced and donated the actual physical signs on which the Vallee Designs graphics were printed.
- Brenda Silva of East Coast Printing (www.eastcoastpress.com) in Weymouth. Brenda and East Coast Printing donated the program booklets.
- Starlight Photography http://starlightphotographyonline.com, which donated all the photography services and image processing – including the images attached here – for the festival.
The raffle drawing will be held on Sunday, Dec. 4. The Easton Garden Club has brought in North Easton Savings Bank, which donated its services, to oversee and insure the integrity of the raffle.
There are scores more people and groups than those cited above who have given to make the inaugural Easton Festival of Trees an all-star community building enterprise that jump starts and fuels an abundance of joy and holiday spirit.
If you can, get over to Queset House to experience it. Trust me, the experience will make you happy.