Arts council prepares for Festival of the Trees

Published 6:06 pm Friday, November 17, 2017

BELHAVEN — Oh, Christmas tree. Oh, Christmas tree…

The holiday season is upon us, and the Belhaven Arts Council is gearing up for the second-annual Festival of the Trees, scheduled for Dec. 1-3.

Residents can stop by The Wilkinson Center on Main Street to view the trees at no cost. Organizer Kaye Lee Brady said she is hoping to have 50 trees on display this year, and so far, there are 25 sponsors committed to decorate a tree.

“The arts council supplies the bare tree already assembled, so sponsors only need to supply ornaments and decorators. Those who don’t have time to decorate can still sponsor a tree, and it would be decorated by one of our arts council members or a group that cannot afford to do their own,” Brady explained.

Brady said she was inspired to start the Festival of the Trees in Belhaven after her experience living in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“They have been doing it for 47 years now, and it was always one of my favorite Christmastime activities to attend. It draws tens of thousands of people who are out doing Christmas shopping, which is what we want to encourage in our community here,” Brady said.

Local businesses, churches and organizations are invited to participate. Sponsoring a large tree costs $50, and smaller trees are available for $25. Participants are encouraged to decorate their tree based on a theme.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Belhaven Arts Council, which will then use it to support arts education in schools and local artists, according to a press release.

Brady said the public will vote on a favorite tree, and prizes will be given to the top three. Some of the trees will also be auctioned off this year. Vendors for food, crafts and gifts and entertainment will be featured at the event, as well.

“The arts council wants to encourage more people to visit our town. We want to provide a fun, family activity for not only our locals, but those visiting our community,” Brady said.

Along with Brady, co-chairs Richard Montgomery and Barbara Pugh are helping organize the Festival of the Trees. Brady said she would also like to thank Lorraine Barham for her help. With a larger venue and more organized help in putting on the event, the Belhaven Arts Council is hoping to keep the Festival of the Trees going strong and set it up for successful years to come.

It’s about ringing in the Christmas season with fellow members of the community — and doing it Belhaven-style.

Those interested in signing up as a sponsor or a vendor should call 801-259-7446.

Belhaven’s Festival of the Trees will be held Dec. 1 from 1-8 p.m., Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Wilkinson Center is located at 144 W. Main St., Belhaven.