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Altrusa's Festival of Trees draws strong turnout



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The Moultonborough Lion's Club's "We Serve" tree. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
December 05, 2018
CENTER HARBOR — Trees of all colors, sizes, and bearing all kinds of unique decorations went on display for the 23rd year of the Meredith Altrusa Club's Festival of Trees.

Trees from many different individuals, businesses, organizations, churches, and much more were lined up on both levels of The Barn at Waukewan Golf Club Friday through Sunday for the festival. People around the community could decorate a tree and enter it as part of the festival. Proceeds benefit various Inter-Lakes area Christmas funds and the Altrusa Club's public service projects around the community and beyond.

Carol Gerken from the Meredith Altrusa Club said this year the festival had 59 trees with the different contributors out in a lot of work and creativity into their trees.

Examples included the "How the Grince Stole Christmas" tree from Berkshire Hathaway with handpainted Grinch face ornaments and the Lakes Region Visiting Nurse Association tree with origami cranes. The Inter-Lakes Elementary School tree had ornaments made by each of the classes with a topper made by a 3D printer. The tree by Maxfield Real Estate had the base from an antique wooden boat.

Some contributions from beyond the Meredith area included Belknap House and the Laconia Altrusa Club.

Most of the trees were on display or would be donated to area families. New this year were trees up for silent auction, sheets were put next to each of the trees on auction for bids.

The festival didn't use the neighboring annex and had the treats, raffles, and tables and chairs in the main building.

There were live musical performances including the ILES sixth grade chorus, the Imaginarium's Kinder Choir, and the Sweetbloods wth Phil and Jan Sanguedolce among others.

During the weekend Cub Scout Pack #55 sold wreathes outside the Barn.

The event opened on Friday to strong numbers.

"We are thrilled; our Friday attendance far surpassed anything in the past," Gerken said.

On Friday, residents of Forestview Manor, Golden View Healthcare Center, and Meredith Bay Colony Club came in their own buses to see the festival, taking advantage of the accessible ramp in the back of the building.

"It seems like everyone was happy to participate, happy to be here," said Altrusa member JoAnne Wilson.

Wilson said she saw some new people coming to the festival.

"It's like neighbors helping neighbors and everyone we approached was happy to be part of it," Gerken said.

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