GPA ready for another banner year with Festival of Trees to fund community projects
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The Grayling Mini Mall will be lined from front to back with trees decorated with ornaments and prizes as the 2019 Festival of Trees gets underway this weekend.
The Grayling Promotional Association’s (GPA) Festival of Trees event has 60 trees and 30 gift baskets available this year. The trees will be on display from Saturday, November 16, through Saturday, November 30.
Local businesses and organizations decorate Christmas trees with ornaments and prize items and donate them.
Each tree has a bucket for tickets. Purchase tickets – they’re $2 for one or $10 for six – and put them into the bucket corresponding to the tree you want to win.
The hours for the Festival of Trees are 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
This year is near the record number of entries for the holiday event.
“We can’t get much more than that in here,” said Gail Swope, a GPA member and chairwoman for the Festival of Trees.
There are a number of new businesses participating this year, including Arauco North America, The Sweet Life, and The Curator.
“I love it because they have different ideas and do different things,” Swope said. “I just think it helps round it out.”
The Festival of Trees is the largest fundraiser the GPA holds throughout the year, stretching over two weeks. The pre-holiday promotion also provides businesses and organizations with an outreach to promote the goods and services they have to offer.
“We love it because it is an event that really brings the community together,” Swope said. “It starts the season out right.”
Santa will be at the Festival of Trees from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, November 17. Kids can submit their letters and wish lists to Santa. There will also be a youth coloring contest.
“Our hopes are to exceed the money we raised last year so we can put more money back into our great city, because all the money that we raise goes back into Grayling,” Swope said.
The GPA just launched an enhance Grayling program to help with beautification efforts in the community.
“We definitely want to put money back into things around town that look bad right now,” Swope said.
The Bearly Used Christmas Store, run in conjunction with the Festival of Trees, is open the same hours as the holiday and community promotion.
“I like it because the kids can come and buy something for their mom or dad without spending a lot of money and they still get something that is nice,” said Marianne Brosky, a GPA member who serves as chairwoman for the Bearly Used Christmas Store.
The drawing for the trees and gift baskets will be held starting at noon on Sunday, December 1.