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Erie’s Festival of Trees set as drive-thru, virtual

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Dana Massing
 
| Erie Times-News

Prepare to light up the holiday season with a little magic. Festival of Trees, one of Erie’s favorite holiday traditions, is returning this year in a new and exciting fashion as Saint Vincent Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network work to create a safe event for the community.

The 2020 event will take place as a glittering drive-thru light experience and a virtual gallery of trees.

The drive will feature beautiful light displays, tents and actors from the Erie Playhouse helping visitors see into “rooms” in Santa’s castle, live reindeer, and fun holiday takeaways.

“Shimmering lights and festive surprises along the route will amaze attendees as they drive through the exhibit, uplifted by the sounds of the holiday music they love,” said Christine Bowen, executive director of advancement at Saint Vincent.

This year’s Festival of Trees is sponsored by PNC Bank. 

“We are grateful that Saint Vincent Hospital has adapted Festival of Trees this year so we can all still safely take part in the tradition” said Jeffrey Szumigale, senior vice president and managing director, NWPA Market, PNC Wealth Management. “While we can’t be together in the usual way, this year’s event will still create a magical experience for our community and benefit a wellness initiative that will help our neighbors in need. Giving back feels particularly critical now in this time of heightened hardship for so many.”

This display will take place at the Fairview Business Park, 7401 Klier Drive, Fairview Township, over Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 27, 28 and 29, from 5 to 9 p.m. all three days.

Admission for the drive-thru light experience will cost $20 per vehicle with one to 10 guests and $40 per vehicle with 11 to 30 guests.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, safety is a priority for this year’s Festival of Trees, organizers said. Volunteers and employees at the drive-thru light experience will follow social distancing  and mask guidelines and attendees will be safe in their cars.

Within Festival of Trees, the traditional Gallery of Trees will be taking place as a free, virtual experience. Members of the public can view an array of beautifully decorated trees in an online gallery and can vote on their favorite holiday tree.

Voting will take place from Nov. 27 through Nov. 29, and the winner will be announced on Nov. 30.

The festival’s amazing team of decorators include: Allburn Florist, Angelle Sundberg, Larese Floral Design, Chrissie Estok, A Floral Affair, Pamela Garfield, Girl Power, Graphitti Creations, Liz Gutting, Jerry Hoydic, Lake Life, Leah Stazer, Molly Danch, Patty McMahon, Plantscape Greenhouses and Potratz Floral Shop.

Proceeds from this year’s Festival of Trees will support the creation of a Healthy Food Center at Saint Vincent Hospital. The center aims to provide patients with access to healthy foods and nutrition counseling to help manage their overall health, no matter their income or budget, officials said.   

More information about Festival of Trees and the Gallery of Trees can be found at www.supportahn.org/festival.

Big sale

The Woman’s Club of Erie is having a November fundraiser that any good bargain hunter will want to check out. This gigantic sale contains about 600 antiques and gently used and new items which were donated by members and friends of the Woman’s Club. 

Jean and Geoffrey Vickey donated a turn-of the-century walnut rocking chair and a metal plant stand with marble inserts. Jean Vickey said these were heirlooms from her great-grandparents on both her mother’s and father’s sides of the family. An antique steamer trunk was donated by Marj and Donald Inderlied.

There are also a variety of other antiques, collectables, household items, furniture, holiday items, music, books, games, puzzles and so much more. All good clean items, reasonably priced. No clothing will be offered.

Trudy Sallach, Joann Kaufer, Mary Jane Blair, Renee Bruno, Marianne Heck, Janet Plavcan, Janet Williams, Patty Raydo and Mary Jane Woleslagle were also just some of the many people who donated some amazing items for the club to sell.

The sale will take place Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Nov. 8, which is half-price day, 8 a.m. to noon at the Woman’s Club of Erie in the charming and historical Galbraith Mansion at 259 W. Sixth St. Masks will be required to attend, organizers said.

POSTSCRIPT: All big changes in human history have been arrived at slowly and through many compromises. – Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), American humanitarian, political activist and longest-serving first lady of the United States.

Reach Meg Loncharic at [email protected]

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