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Rain fails to dampen Festival of Trees

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SERVE: Visitors were able to get free cookies and hot cocoa during the Festival of Trees.
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MARVEL: Visitors marvel over a decorated tree within the entrance of Timbercrest Senior Community Living.
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BAZAAR: The Festival of Trees featured two bazaars of handcrafted goods for visitors to purchase.
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TOUR: Visitors tour the halls of Timbercrest Senior Community Living and look at more than 80 trees decorated by area businesses.

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN - achristman@wabashplaindealer.com

Visitors remained warm, cozy and in high spirits at the Timbercrest Senior Living Community Festival of Trees despite a cold and dreary rain Saturday afternoon.

Acting as the sixth annual holiday event held at Timbercrest, Director of Development Faith Miller credited strong community and area business interest in the success of the day.

“Families have made this a tradition over the years,” Miller said. “It’s cozy and safe here, so once you’re inside you’re set.”

Guests were invited to tour throughout the facility and look at 85 trees decorated by area businesses, stop by two cocoa bars which offered free hot cocoa and cookies, meet Santa Claus and a reindeer and stop by two holiday-themed bazaars which offered handmade goods including soaps, decor, popcorn and ceramics.

This year also featured an increase in the number of decorated trees for visitors to look at, as last year there were 72. Miller said the record number of 125 was established on the first year from resident participation, but she is glad to see further support from area businesses, some of which were choosing to donate funds raised by the event to the North Manchester food pantry.

“They don’t have to do that, we didn’t ask them to do that,” Miller said.

Along with offering an event for the community and businesses to take part in, Miller said the residents at Timbercrest truly get the best of the experience.

“Their spirits are going up because they get to see people,” Miller said. “This day, they get to see people of all different ages to eat cookies together, drink hot cocoa together, to look at Christmas decorations. It’s tradition, it’s sentimental and it just feels good.”

Miller added this is the first time there has been rain and she was worried how it would affect turnout. Typically, she said, there is a large grassy area where vehicles were able to park, but the wet ground was too soft to park on. However, the crowds showed no sign of slowing throughout the day, as parking lots filled within the first hour.

Even Miller said no one word could describe what it is like to be at the event.

“There’s an air of being sentimental, you just have to be here,” she said. “It feels like Christmas...it brings all of these emotions. Then you bring community members in that are visiting our residents, relationships are being built. It’s just a beautiful thing.”