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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Festival of Trees Makes Epic Return to Winter Haven 

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Festival of Trees Makes Epic Return to Winter Haven

by James Coulter

It may only be a few days from Thanksgiving, but that did not stop Grove Roots from ringing in the holiday season early by bringing back the holiday tradition of the Festival of Trees.

Over the weekend, Grove Roots allowed visitors to peruse more than a dozen trees in their packing room. All the trees were decorated by the Ridge Art Association and sponsored by local businesses. After the event, these trees were then provided to the businesses that sponsored them.

Throughout the event, attendees could purchase wreaths and holiday goodies, while children could decorate Christmas cookies, visit Santa Claus, and even go shopping for their parents at the Secret Santa Shop.

The Festival of Trees was hosted on Saturday and Sunday, with a preview party hosted by the Junior League of Winter Haven.During the event, a silent auction was hosted by The Hub, a local non-profit organization dedicated to assisting people through cancer.

“We love the community, we love our Winter Haven, and we love our Polk County, and we would do anything for it,” said Chris Hazelwood with The Hub.

The Festival of Trees had been a longstanding tradition in Winter Haven as far back as the 1980s. However, the annual holiday tradition had not been hosted for the longest time. Both the owner of Grove Roots and the Ridge Art Association teamed up together to bring it back, explained Christy Hemenway, Executive Vice President of the Ridge Art Association.

The event was planned and created as a collaboration among various local organizations including the Garden Center, The Hub, and The Junior League of Winter Haven. The result was a magnificent weekend of holiday fun and festivities that has not been seen for decades. Though she is not familiar with the original event, she has heard great things about it, and she was proud to help bring back a local holiday tradition.

“It has been an exciting event so far with great attendance,” said Rhonda Todd, Sustainer Liaison of the Junior League. “Above expectations, everything has been amazing, the excitement behind the event, the turnout has been great. All the money we are raising tonight is going back to the Junior League of Winter Haven so we can have projects to serve our community with women and children in need.”

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