Festival of Trees events will spread holiday cheer
By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor
The McGregor Historical Society, McGregor Clan Lions Club and McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts will once again bring holiday cheer to the area with the Festival of Trees on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7.
This marks the event’s third year, and its second at the McGregor’s Landing Event Center—a space donated by Jim and Linda Boeke.
“It’s in its infancy,” said Jim Arvidson, one of the Festival of Trees organizers, “but we’re pleased with how the event’s developing. I anticipate nothing but good things.”
The highlight of the event is, naturally, the Christmas trees. Arvidson said, so far, at least 25 trees (purchased from the Prairie du Chien Fire Department) will be decorated by groups, businesses and individuals from both Marquette and McGregor. The public can view the trees from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. on Saturday. During that time, viewers can also vote for their favorites.
Following Saturday night’s viewing, the votes will be tallied and cash prices given to the winners. Then, the trees will be auctioned off if the group or individual chooses not to keep it. The decorators also decide what, if any, decorations remain on the tree. Any remaining trees will be donated to Shepherd of the Hills.
In addition to the beautifully-decorated trees, at least five gingerbread houses will be decorated. Like the trees, they can also be voted upon and auctioned off.
All free will donations, along with the proceeds from the Christmas tree and gingerbread house auctions, will go to the McGregor Fire Department and the MarMac Rescue Squard.
Throughout both days, local vendors and artisans will display crafts. On Saturday, visitors can also check out the holiday goodies bake sale from 10 a.m. to around 2 p.m.
Each evening will feature entertainment from 5 to 8 p.m. On Friday night, the event will include beer and wine tasting, as well as Victorian Christmas caroling and live music from River City Ruckus, a band based in Prairie du Chien. On Saturday night, people can check out a dessert competition showcasing local chefs and restaurant owners, as well as more Victorian Christmas caroling and a performance by Santa’s Combo.
Arvidson said some local bars and restaurants will also participate in a “Holiday Cheer Fest,” offering patrons some type of local cheer.
Arvidson said he hopes the event, which started out with just tree decorating, will continue to grow and bring more and more people together.
“We want to get the community as involved as we can and provide a family event that our citizens can enjoy,” Arvidson said. “It’s a way to promote Christmas spirit and attract people to McGregor and Marquette. It’s such a special time of year, so we want to give people things to do and reasons to come and enjoy what we have to offer.”