Jana Halverson and her daughter, Julia, volunteered on Sunday night at Festival of Trees to help transform the building
Jana Halverson and her daughter, Julia, volunteered on Sunday night at Festival of Trees to help transform the building
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Dr. Seuss said this in his book, "The Lorax" and each year many people in Houston County take this to heart and do care a "whole awful lot" as they create, prepare, and donate to the Houston County Festival of Trees.

The Festival of Trees is a three-day event beginning the day after Thanksgiving. Each year volunteers transform the Fest Building into a new and magical place. This year the whimsical and magical characters and places from Dr. Seuss books will come to life for a special Christmas with Dr. Seuss.


Volunteers are busily working many hours creating the transformation as well as organizing donations, planning food, and making the event a special celebration. Christmas with Dr. Seuss will begin Friday, Nov. 29 at 1 p.m. with Open Viewing. At 4 p.m. there will be a visit from a special guest from the North Pole and also his green friend, The Grinch. As children wait to speak to Santa, they will be able participate in a variety of activities.

Tickets for the 104" x 117" Dutch Star pattern Amish-made quilt are $1 each or six for $5 and will be available for purchase all day with the drawing on Saturday.

Supper will also be available to purchase from the food stand served by area 4-H groups from 5 to 7 p.m. along with the Holiday cookie sale.

At 7 p.m. Viking Memorial Park will come "alive" with the lighting of Christmas in the Village. The Commercial Club will be serving coffee, hot chocolate, and sweets for people as they stroll thru the newly lit holiday decorations.

The scenes and decorations have been spruced up and set into place by JC and Darla Nerstad, Carol Nerstad, Rose Florian, Steve Kemp, and the crew of Four Season Maintenance. Reaching high into the trees to hang the lights that sparkle like stars, were Todd Olerud and his New Age Tree Service crew. Anyone interested in helping with the village scenes next year can contact Darla Nerstad at (507) 498-3560.

New this year is a Silent Auction. Bidders will be given a silent bid number and can make their bids anytime Friday and Saturday with winning bids being taken through Saturday evening. Bidders do not need to be present to win their Silent Auction item, but might want to be there Saturday night to make sure their bid is the winning one!


Saturday begins with Open Viewing at 10 a.m. Take some time to browse all the wonderful items donated for the auction, picking a favorite (or two or three!) to bid on later in the evening. The food stand will be hosted by Camp Winnebago and will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At 6 p.m. the Holiday Gala kicks off with delectable appetizers and time to enjoy conversations with friends and neighbors as many gather together to help those in need. Tickets to the Gala are $20 and include the appetizers and three drinks. The live auction begins at 8 p.m. Many wonderful items of a wide variety will be auctioned off with proceeds going to Houston County Care and Share, Houston County Food Shelf, and other designated charities.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to buy a chance to win a 42" LG high-definition television. A limited number of chances will be sold and the lucky winner will go home that evening with a new TV. Tickets for the 104" x 117" Dutch Star pattern Amish-made quilt will also be for sale throughout the day and evening Saturday. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5 and the winner will be drawn on Saturday evening.

In 2012, a total of $24,651.75 was raised during the Holiday Gala and Auction; that is nearly double what was raised in 2009! The Festival of Trees event continues to grow and in turn, continues to help more and more people. The Festival of Trees hopes to continue this growth and invites people to attend the Gala and live auction with their friends and family. Attendees will not only be enjoying camaraderie and delicious appetizers, but also when purchasing items that would make great gifts, they will also be benefiting many others through their generosity.


All good things must come to an end, the saying goes and on Sunday, Dec. 1, the Festival of Trees will wrap up with Open Viewing from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A delicious Holiday Brunch will be served during this time as well. Auction items will be able to be picked up at the end of the event.

Auction items still accepted

All items for the live and silent auctions are donated by local people. Items do not have to only be trees, but can be any festive item from a wall hanging to a centerpiece to a gift basket full of goodies. The success of the Festival of Trees depends on these generous donations of items as well as those generously bidding on items during the auctions.

Items for the auctions will be accepted until Wednesday, Nov. 27. A donation form can be found on the Festival of Tree's website, www.mnfot.org under the "Donate" tab.