Hundreds of families continued a tradition or created a new one by attending the 27th annual North Country Festival of Trees, from November 29 to December 2. The busy event attracted many area residents and visitors as they welcomed the holiday season and supported Prospect Center, a division of the Center for Disability Services, through admission fees, special festival activities and purchases.
Guests marveled at the creativity of the beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, gingerbread creations and centerpieces on display, and available to buy, at The Queensbury Hotel, a downtown Glens Falls landmark. Local entertainment included school and community bands, carolers, a hand bell choir, dance troupes and a jazz ensemble. Professional designers, students and makers of all ages created the trees and other items, many of which had a theme and took months to plan and execute. Holidays in the Adirondacks, childhood memories and the beauty of nature were especially popular looks. One show stopping entry featured a bodice form dressed in a long gold skirt, with layered necklaces made of gold safety pins and golden angel wings fashioned from paper plates.
A jovial Santa Claus, accompanied by Mrs. Claus, visited with children in a special parlor and the popular Children’s Wonderland play and activity area had multiple rooms of crafts, games and an elves’ workshop.
On Saturday and Sunday, the first hour of the General Festival, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., welcomed children with special needs to a sensory friendly visit with Santa and Children’s Wonderland activities with faculty from CloverPatch Preschool and the Langan School at Prospect Center. This first time opportunity was to better accommodate children with sensory sensitivities or other challenges which make crowded areas and waiting in long lines stressful.
A number of families made reservations to enjoy a special breakfast with Santa during the weekend. The Holiday Boutique was especially crowded this year and offered shoppers a wide variety of hand made items created by area artisans and perfect for gift giving or home use.
The Festival Gala, on November 30, was an evening of fine cuisine, dancing and spirits. Guests danced to the Radio Junkies and listened to pianist Matt Donnelly, enjoyed a “selfie” photo booth complete with props which popped out instant pictures, bid for silent auction items and generously supported a live auction. Co-Chairpersons were Laureen Calautti, Kristin Howarth and Lindy Owen. Sponsors included Boralex Energy Creator, Cobble Pond Farms, Cottrell Dental, Dave and Pam Kaiser, Jeff and Judy Killeen and Marvin and Company.
Many thanks to the hundreds of community volunteers, area businesses, schools and local organizations who once again made the North Country Festival of Trees a success and a highly anticipated holiday tradition in the community.
“The North Country Festival of Trees is magical,” said spokesperson Anne Schneider Costigan. “It is Prospect Center’s signature event and an important fundraiser for programs and services for local people with disabilities and their families. Community support helps us purchase mobility and communication equipment and STEM supplies for school, among other initiatives. The festival succeeds because dedicated volunteers work hard and share this special part of the holiday season with the larger community.”
Prospect Center, a division of the Center for Disability Services, serves children and adults with developmental disabilities and those at-risk. Its programs and services include CloverPatch Preschool, the Langan School at Prospect Center, Adult Day Habilitation and a Dixon Road residential program for adults with disabilities. Prospect Center provides services to 1,200 individuals and families in Warren, Washington, Northern Saratoga, Hamilton and Essex counties.