By: Jen Jones – December, 2015
The Festival of Trees does it again! Year after year, hundreds of uniquely decorated festive holiday trees and wreaths are on display, as well as many wonderful auction items; each one better than the last. If you have not been to the Festival of Trees, you should rethink this and make it your new tradition as my family, friends, and I have for the last 22 years. This year the event continued to be held at the Valley Office Park located at 13 Branch Street in Methuen, Massachusetts 01844, and ran from November 21-December 5th.
This annual event originated as a fundraiser for the Tenney Gatehouse in an effort to restore the historical building, and maintain the history of our community. This organization has since restored and preserved numerous historical sites and buildings including, but not limited to: Holy Family Hospital, multiple libraries in surrounding areas (Methuen’s Nevins Memorial Library, Billerica’s Bennett Library Association, and North Andover’s Stevens Memorial Library), Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill, Whistler House and Museum, churches, meetinghouses, Historic Handtub House (Rocks Village), The Searles Building (Methuen City Hall), cemeteries, Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Andover Historical Society’s Amos Blanchard House, The Methuen Masonic Lodge, train depots, and other various historical projects throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The majority of the submissions are from Methuen residents, The committee does allow some special submissions from other neighboring cities and towns. All of the trees are thoughtfully planned and crafted by members of service groups, schools, families, and businesses. Their Founder’s Club is unique because the following businesses, organizations, and people have actively participated in this event since the 1994 from the very beginning: Jim & Paula Jajuga, Sharon Pollard & Thomas Lussier, Methuen Exchange Club, Methuen Historical Society, Charles Beauty Wellness, Inc., Methuen Historical Society, Ray & Kay DiFiore, Methuen Board of Trade, and Presentation of Mary Academy.
Whether you are looking for fun for the whole family, or a great date night, it’s the perfect spot to get in the holiday spirit with the ones you love. They offer a decent menu in the café with a variety of food, snacks, desserts, and beverages including chicken barb sandwiches, cheese fries, pizza, chocolate cake, and apple crisp; just a few of the treats they have readily available to purchase if you did not have the opportunity to have dinner before you get lost in all the glitzy lights. The chicken barb reminded me of Bea’s, and the chocolate cake was moist and rich.
Creative ideas and interesting themes are thoughtfully planned and carried out with a festive spin on holiday trees, wreaths, and other decorations. Some of the most interesting sites to have seen were: the themed Star Wars large tree “May the Force Of Peace Be With You”, Mann Orchards “Up On The Roof Top”, and the Methuen Exchange Club of Methuen’s “Duty, Honor, Country” trees. If I had to narrow down my top picks of the event, they would be the Dr. Who themed “A Timey-Wimey Christmas”, The “Silver and Gold” wreath by Paul & Denis Webster Greene, The Lantern for the mini trees, and I could not take my eyes off the best use of theme display because it had so much detail.
Since all the trees and wreaths are raffled off after the event closes for the season on December 5th, with all the spectacular submissions it was hard to choose which trees to put the raffle tickets in. There is one raffle that is the main attraction, and gives the highest payout: the beautifully decorated Charles Tree and a whopping $5,000 in cold hard cash.