Since 2014, the Festival of Trees has provided fun and festive activities for all ages. Held the weekend before Thanksgiving on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17, it is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season while providing support for local pregnant and parenting families.
Sponsored by Dakota Hope Clinic of Minot, Tioga and Bottineau, the fundraiser will again be held at the ND State Fair Center. One hall is dedicated to the “Holiday Shoppe”, where guests can purchase fresh holiday wreaths, make a holiday centerpiece with succulents, learn how to roll lefse, and pick up your pies and other baked items for Thanksgiving and Christmas. A Silent Auction provides fun and unique shopping options with online bidding starting on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Festival Chair, Amanda Olson, shared “because everyone is busy, we added more activities that will help attendees check off items on their to-do list.
Admission is free for indoor daytime events on Friday and Saturday, with free-will donations accepted. Tickets are on sale now at festoftrees.com for the traditional “Dinner and Auction” on Saturday, Nov. 18th, featuring live music by Jared Schumaier and a delicious dinner by LBJ BBQ. With auctioneer, Ben Stiegelmeier, the Live Auction of decorated trees and other premium items, is sure to generate excitement for attendees and those participating through the livestream at home. According to Director of Development, Tim Knutson, “anyone who wants to support Dakota Hope, but does not need a tree, will have the option to donate their tree to a Dakota Hope client family or a local non-profit.
Decorated trees provide the setting for local musicians and other performers to showcase their talents during “Tea in the trees” from 1 – 4 on Friday, where attendees can enjoy free homemade treats with a hot beverage. Among the entertainers scheduled are dancers from the Rinat Institute of Minot.
Popular annual free attractions include Follow the Star Interactive Nativity, Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides, and Professional Family Photos. Certain trusted elves have notified Clinic officials that visitors from the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Clause will be return for a visit. Follow the Star will be better than ever with new costumes, backdrops, and a revised script. Come experience the Christmas Story in a whole new way!
New to the Festival this year is ND Teen Eva Robinson and her race dogs who placed 14th in the 2022 Jr. Iditarod in Alaska. You can run with Eva and her race dogs during the Annual “Dashing Through the Snow” 5K Run/Walk or 1 mile Family Fun Run through Roosevelt Park on Nov. 18th. In addition, you can hear Eva’s story on stage inside. Also on stage this year for the first time will be Linda, a ventriloquist from South Dakota and her “Friends” who will arrive in a suitcase!
“We have inspiration and food, along with free and fun activities that the whole family can enjoy while they learn about and support Dakota Hope” shared Nadia Smetana, Clinic Director. Call 701-852-4675 or go to festoftrees.com to learn all the details, sign up for the 5K or Family Fun Run, or purchase tickets for the Dinner and Auction.”