Festival of Trees A Joyous Success

            The November 27 opening reception of the Friends of the Marion Council on Aging Festival of Trees fundraiser drew large numbers, people seeking to begin their holiday not only supporting the FMCOA event but people seeking to find the joy of the season. To that end – it was a grand success.

            The fundraiser featured 14 trees decked from top to bottom in themed resplendence. Each tree was sponsored by its own team of elves, whose imaginative interpretations of traditional trees created a fanciful and precious forest throughout the main hall of the Cushing Community Center.

            Raffle tickets were sold for a drawing that will be held on Thursday, December 9, at noon when the lucky winners will go home with a tree that they found especially fetching. Baskets filled to overflowing with holiday goodies were also raffled off.

            The fundraiser was another effort by the FMCOA to secure funding for the construction of an outdoor pavilion on the grounds of the former VFW, a space the group is calling Pavilion Park.

            Throughout the year, a variety of fundraising events have been hosted by the group with the goal of reaching the $50,000 mark. FMCOA president Merry Conway was beaming as she said the group was very near their goal and would be meeting soon with the Marion Select Board to discuss next steps. She said that the 2019 event had been well attended but that 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic. The 2021 event proved to be a great success.

            From the moment the event opened until the end, the two-hour reception was packed with merrymakers. The festival’s team of organizers that included Conway and other members of the FMCOA, COA Director Karen Gregory, COA Program Coordinator Linda Jackvony, and COA assistant Mike Poznysz, were all delighted by the overwhelming turnout.

            At the grand piano tickling the ivories with the sweet sounds of holiday music which helped to set the tone for the afternoon was Dave Valerio. His renditions of traditional Christmas tunes were simply perfect.

            But the real draw, the reason so many broke away from Saturday chores was to see the trees.

            Each tree bore a title that spoke to its unique theme. There was “All You Need Is Love” decorated with hearts by “Friends” Ellen, Jeannie, Vicki and Wendy. “Cheers To Christmas” was decorated by Tabitha Tripp, a tree covered in wine corks creatively sculpted into snowmen, elves, forest creatures and even a tiny manger scene. “Classy Tree” by Cheryl Lorantos and “Tuxedo Tree” by Joyce LeBlanc and Jean MacCormack both donned black top hats, setting a very sophisticated mood, while “Penguin Christmas” created by children attending before and after-school programs at East Fairhaven School was a giant sized – you guessed it – penguin.

            “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” created by members of the COA staff was a lovely, delicate display of crocheting excellence with white handmade snowflakes of intricate lace-like pieces. “Tree By The Sea” created by Lissa Magauran and Ami Milano brought a touch of the salty sea to the room, while “Flamingo Fun” by Jill Pitman held a giant pink flamingo in evergreen branches just for fun.

            And speaking of fun, the tree named “Sweet Little Place for Sweet Little Folks” decorated by Volunteers at Sippican Elementary (VASE) was festooned with colorful ribbons and images of rainbow candy, a Candyland-themed offering.

            Another youthful theme was the tree titled “Zooming Out of 2021 As Fast As We Can” and covered from top to bottom with Matchbox cars decorated by a local automobile business. “Winter Wonderland” by Janet Wallace and Lorraine Sowden and “Yester Year” by the Russo Family were trees giving a nod to bygone days with themes of snow-covered woodlands and heirloom ornaments. “Memory Lane” decorated by Siobhan McDonald will continue to grow as it was designed to be interactive, giving people the trimmings to make more decorations.

            Touching on an importance of Alzheimers awareness, “Memories Matter” is a tree decorated by Barbara Meehan on behalf of Alzheimers advocate Christine Gallagher, decorated in purple, silver and white, a tribute to those living with dementia.

            The trees will remain on display through Thursday, December 9, if you are looking for inspiration. For more information on the Friends of the Marion COA, visit fmcoa.org.

Friends of the Marion Council On Aging

By Marilou Newell

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