Festival Of Trees Opening Night

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 10:35 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – A Rochester Holiday Tradition has continued this year.

The Festival Of Trees has been a more than 30-year tradition. The event helps raise money for Hiawatha Homes, a nonprofit that helps provide support and housing for people with developmental disabilities.

Tuesday night, was the opening night gala for the festival.

“It has grown over the years, and it has become such a wonderful community event,” said Sue Schwartz, a tree designer.

There are more than 80 trees on display with elaborate themes.

“You can just be bold. You want to make it memorable. You want to make it big. You want to make it flashy and so it’s really fun to try to come up with different things,” Sue Schwartz, a tree designer.

Many trees are on display for all to see in Downtown Rochester.

“I want it to bring joy to people. I think it’s fun for people to look at the trees and think, ‘oh, that looks like something I would do in their living room,’ or maybe it’s something that would be different and fun. Maybe they would never decorate a tree like that, but they just think it’s fun to look at,” said Renee Thoreson, a tree designer.

For many tree admirers and designers, the best part of the event isn’t the trees but the purpose behind it.

“This festival would not exist unless we had Hiawatha Homes to help people that are developmentally disabled. It’s such a fun way. And yet a serious way to help people that need these services,” Sorenson said.

Those involved in the event are happy to put their hard work into helping individuals with disabilities.

“We’ve had more than $7,000 for one of our trees in the past up, and that’s when we’ve done live auction,” said Mike Snyder, a Tree Ambassador and member of the Wood Carver’s Association.

The trees are on display until Nov. 28.

Click here for a map of the locations.

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