For the past 30 years, Festival of Trees has signaled the beginning of the holiday season on the Space Coast. During that time, the Junior League of South Brevard (JLSB) has used the money raised during the holiday-themed fundraiser to spearhead community projects including The Haven, Club Esteem and Erna Nixon Hammock Park.
Cathy Ford, the president of the Junior League when Festival of Trees began, has watched the event grow through the years but remain true to the goal of benefiting the community.
“It has evolved into a larger fundraiser but the core is still the same,” Cathy said. “It is fun to see it evolve into such a spectacular thing for the community.”
The Junior League of South Brevard, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Members of the league volunteer and raise money for community projects and receive leadership training while learning other skills like team building, strategic planning, organizational skills, public speaking, financial planning and more.
“We all share a common goal of helping people in our community,” said Christine Blair-Bowin, this year’s president of the Junior League of South Brevard.
Vickie Freece, president from 2004-2005 agrees. “The Junior League is all about training women,” said Vickie. “Festival of Trees is a training ground for our volunteers,” she said.
This year’s Festival of Trees is hosted by the Foosaner Art Museum, sponsored by the Florida Institute of Technology in the museum’s spaces in downtown Eau Gallie on November 15-16.
“Artists hand selected by the Foosaner Art Museum will design the trees,” said Lauren Watts, co-chair of Festival of Trees.
Trees ranging in size from six feet tall and up will be commissioned by the museum. Smaller trees and wreaths, donated by artists and local supporters, will also be on display and for sale throughout the weekend.
Kids can participate in activities and crafts and Santa will be on hand for photos. Highland Avenue will be closed to traffic from Bud Yeager to St. Clair so that attendees can walk from the museum to the auditorium and education center. Local shops in downtown Eau Gallie will host sidewalk sales and an arts and crafts fair. The Farmers’ Market will also be open on Saturday.
Families won’t want to miss an exclusive morning with Santa Claus at The Santa Experience. This limited ticket event will start with cocoa and cookies and will end with Santa arriving from the North Pole to delight and take photos with the children.
This year organizers are also bringing back the beloved tradition of a gala on Friday, November 14. Invited guests will enjoy live classical music performances by the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, a luxury auto showcase by presenting sponsor Audi Melbourne, cigar and scotch pairings and more. Attendees will also have the opportunity to preview the beautifully designed trees before the event opens to the public.
The funds raised at this year’s event will support the Junior League’s current projects which focus on “improving the health of children through nutrition and physical activity.” The JLSB sponsors Fueling Kids which provides healthy snacks and physical activities to children participating in the afterschool programs at Sabal Elementary, a local Title I School.
“This is our continually biggest fundraiser that supports all our projects,” said Lauren Lewis, co-chair of Festival of Trees.
30th Annual Festival of Trees
Foosaner Art Museum
Saturday, Nov. 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 16, Noon to 4 p.m.
$5 per person, children 2 and under free
For more information visit JLSB.net