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Methuen Festival of Trees
D.J. Beauregard

Christmas lights. Christmas music. Christmas trees. The Festival of Trees is a Christmas tradition in the City of Methuen. It is a time when volunteerism, creativity, and imagination unite.

This year’s Festival of Trees started on November 19th, and ended on December 3rd. Approximately 207 trees were on display, and about 15,000 to 20,000 people walked through the Festival area located at the Brooks Properties office building on Branch Street. Festival worker Colleen Carney said that this year was “the best year yet.”

A major part of the Festival each year is the tree created by Charles, the owner of Charles’ Beauty Wellness in Methuen, and his mother Mary. This year’s tree was titled, “The Spirit of Christmas Lies Within.”

The winner of the tree does not win the actual tree, but wins the $3,000 cash prize which is donated by Charles and Mary. Maureen Pollard, the President of the Festival of Trees organization, was excited about this years festival saying,: “You pay a cheap price to get the opportunity to win a tree that is worth thousands of dollars. It is truly a reasonable value.”

Though thousands of Methuen residents attended the festival this year, the event doesn’t attract only Methuen residents. People from all over the country visit Methuen each year just to see the Festival of Trees. According to Pollard, several people from as nearby as Maine, and even a visitor from California, visited the Festival this year. Jim Reynolds of Everett, Massachusetts was there for the first time with his son Connor. “The trees were very nice," Reynolds said. "Everyone who helped out did an excellent job.”

The Festival of Trees is a great place to take your family during the holiday season. 9-year-old Mia Eliopoulous of Methuen was there with her family, and said that the Festival was “good,” adding that she liked the tree decorated with dolls. Jim Winning of Methuen attended the festival  to observe all the Christmas trees on display. Winning and his wife have been attending the Festival of Trees since it started in 1994 at the old Nevins Memorial Library. “The new location is more opening,” Winning told The Valley Patriot.

The Festival was originally located at the library but was moved to the Red Tavern on Pleasant Street in 1996 because the popularity of the Festival had grown to a point where the library could not accommodate all the visitors.

The festival was moved again to the Branch Street location in 2003 following the sale of the Red Tavern. “There is room for more imagination at our new venue (on Branch Street). Anything goes,” Pollard said. She also noted that the surrounding businesses enthusiastically embrace the Festival each year. “Some donate their own trees,” Pollard said.

This year, there is an expanded café, and a silent auction. The café serves everything from chicken salad and tuna fish sandwiches to Italian wedding soup and cheesecake with strawberries. The silent auction offers a variety of items which are donated by very creative individuals. There is also a lot of sports memorabilia as well, including a football signed by the New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady.

If you are looking for a place to spend time with your family, enjoy the holiday season, and enjoy a tasty lunch at the same time, then the Festival of Trees in Methuen is the place to be. For more information about the Festival, visit the organization’s website: www.MethuenFestivalOfTrees.com.

D.J. Beauregard is The Valley Patriot's Methuen reporter. He was the campaign manager for Councilor Kathleen Corey Rahme's successful campaign for at-large city council. If you have a news tip in Methuen   you can email him at methuendj@aol.com

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The December Edition of the Valley Patriot
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