The Festival of Trees is a Grand County Holiday Tradition hosted by the Fraser River Valley Lions Club. The event is a Grand County nonprofit charitable event. This year marks its 16th season and is free and open to the public. 

This year’s Festival will trees, wreaths, and Hanukkah items decorated by local nonprofit organizations. The Lions Club furnishes the “bare” trees and wreaths to the nonprofits, sets up, staffs, cleans up after the event, and delivers all the trees to the high bidders on Saturday morning following the Festival. Lions Club volunteers also provide food and beverages free of charge to guests and ensure that Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in jovial attendance. More than 40 volunteers come together for this event.

The event has grown from a small idea to a fabulous event that takes place at the Grand Park Community Rec Center. Event founder, Jill Childress, said, “I joke about driving across the Fraser flats trying to come up with a new idea and there it was.” 2004 was a year where donations were down and Jill thought a holiday event would offer area nonprofits a good platform to tell stories about their organizations.

Childress recalls, “Our first venue was in the space currently occupied by Be Fashion Boutique in Cooper Creek Square.” Small but cozy, the event showcased 8 trees. She added, “We had our first dessert auction that night, as well.” Gary Defrange, former CEO for Winter Park Resort purchased the highest priced tree that year, which was the “Mardi Gras” tree decorated by the Middle Park High School After-Prom group. “I believe it sold for around $600.” The trees were then delivered to the purchasers in a horse trailer. Delivery of the trees has since evolved. “Now, our friends at Mountain Movers help us to get them moved.” The Club has moved trees as far out as Kremmling, which can be challenging in a snowstorm. The weather looks good for Saturday, so delivery should not be a concern.

Jan and Bob Boynton are the event co-chairs and have been steering the Festival’s growth for nine years. According to Bob, “The Fraser River Valley Lions Club has three objectives for the Festival.”

  1. Provide a fundraising opportunity for local nonprofits.
  2. Provide a free, family-oriented holiday party for everyone in our valley.
  3. Provide a venue where local nonprofits can present themselves to the Grand County community, tell their story and garner increased support in the form of volunteers and donations.

“It provides a great venue for the community to come together, enjoy the holiday season and support the organizations that provide so much to all of us,” said event founder, Jill Childress.

The 16th annual Festival of Trees takes place today, December 6th, from 4 – 8 pm at the Grand Park Community Rec Center. The event is free and open to the public.