You can use almost anything to decorate a Christmas tree – garlands, tinsel, candy canes and … dinosaurs?
You could find all those decorations and more at Arc’s Festival of Trees, held each year in Clearwater since 1984. This year’s event was sponsored by AMERILIFE and was held at The Long enter on 1501 N. Belcher Road from November 22 – 24, 2019. The event was open to the public. General admission was $5 and all proceeds went to benefit the people served by The Arc Tampa Bay.
Walking through the sparkling forest, you’ll never know what the next tree will bring: trees of all colors bedecked with teddy bears, Barbie dolls, animals, birds, and even aliens.
One clever tree titled Stranger Things boasted ornaments from the sci-fi TV show and was upside down!
A popular tree’s ornaments were all green – greenbacks that is. The decorations were fashioned into origami shapes made from real money.
Another tree resided on its own doghouse with a furry friend peeking out.
Beach-themed trees with shells and mermaids were crowd favorites. And what Florida tree festival is complete without flamingos?
Those shopping for decorated trees had a tough time choosing between gold or silver…
Or patriotic red, white and blue!
My personal favorite tree had happy-faced colorful dolls and llamas with positive messages – of course!
Someone popular – Elsa from Frozen – posed with fans in photos.
And of course, who’s more popular than Santa? This jolly fellow was on hand to diligently listen to present requests.
Merchant vendors sold hand-made items and Christmas fare. Food vendors were on hand to provide lots of goodies.
Performers from all over Clearwater and Pinellas County offer entertainment during the three-day event.
By the end of the weekend, most trees had been sold – raising much needed funds for the upcoming year.
I’ll bet people are already thinking of what to decorate trees with next year!
Arc Tampa Bay fosters community awareness and involvement, raising money and advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities under their care. The foundation’s work can be seen in all parts of the community. The Festival of Trees offers trees and wreaths for sale to support the programs. For more information on supporting The Arc Tampa Bay, visit www.TheArcTBFoundation.org.