Festival of Trees: Fundraiser for Children's Hospital of Michigan, Novi, MI

Rosie, PandaCat, & PlazaQueen

Halloween is long gone. Thanksgiving is over. The rush toward Christmas is on. In fact, the Christmas decorations have been out or on sale in some places since before Halloween! But that is a rant for another time ...

When it is the season, we are all suckers for Christmas and all its trappings A colleague at work had given us tickets to this Festival of Trees, which is a fundraiser for the local children's hospital, so we decided to check it out and possibly get inspiration for decorating our own Christmas tree.

The Festival was set up in one section of a large local expo hall. There were numerous beautifully decorated full-sized trees with many different themes or color schemes from Mardi Gras to Star Wars. Another area displayed small tabletop trees also theme decorated. Individuals, groups, organizations, or even local schools' art classes provided the trees, which were available for purchase, thus the fund raising.

Local school music groups provided entertainment on a stage and seating area set aside for that purpose. Another area was set up as a small amusement park or carnival with inflatable slides and other play structures. Another curtained off area was a Christmas gift shop offering holiday decorations and gift items for sale. Some of the dividers between display areas were used to hang gorgeous Christmas quilts, also available for sale. And last, but not least, what would Christmas be without gingerbread houses? This area was not terribly large, nor were the actual gingerbread houses on display, but they looked cute and festive.

Children of all ages oooh'ed and aaaah'ed throughout the exhibit and even came running over to pose for pictures with Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and a storm trooper who were strolling around the exhibit hall. Amazing how the GFFA isn't all that far away after all ...

[In case anyone is wondering what the baddies of the Star Wars galaxy have to do with a fundraiser like this, there is an organization called the "501st: Vader's Fist" and they are a fan-based cosplay group with branches throughout the United States and beyond. The group was founded by Albin Johnson, who's daughter Katie suffered from a childhood cancer; the members of the 501st rallied to the cause and became known for donating and raising monies to children's hospitals for research and for covering the cost of care for some patients. Alas, Katie died this past summer, but the work of the 501st continues. And yes, the 501st is the official designation of the elite battalion which followed the former Anakin Skywalker into the Jedi Temple to initiate the Jedi Purge ... ironic that their real-life counterparts would never hurt a youngling! But we digress ...]

It didn't really take that long to walk around and see the whole exhibition, but it was a nice way to get into the holiday spirit. I think we'll go again next year.

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