The St. Albans City Festival of Trees has fast become Franklin County’s premiere holiday event – a gift that everyone in northwestern Vermont and beyond enjoys – and while the event is geared toward yuletide fun, there is a strong underlying message of generosity.
Since its inception in 2009, the Festival of Trees has provided thousands of dollars to nonprofit and school groups in Franklin County, Vermont. Money is raised through the Friday night gala and silent auction, where glorious and jaw-dropping Christmas trees are sold, and at other admission-based events held throughout the weekend. (Even though most everything is free!)
In its first year, the Festival of Trees gave $1,500 to the Bellows Free Academy-St. Albans High School Drama Club and another $2,000 to the St. Albans Society for the Performing Arts (SASPA). SASPA formed in 2009 “to promote and encourage public programs and a greater appreciation of the arts in performance and in education to the public,” according to SASPA’s Facebook page.
In 2010, SASPA received another $5,000 from the Festival of Trees. The phenomenal growth of the Festival of Trees from its inaugural to second year also allowed the Franklin County Humane Society to collect $5,000 from the weekend-long event.
The 2011 Festival of Trees proceeds once again benefited SASPA as well as Laurie’s House, a safe shelter for domestic assault victims operated by Voices Against Violence, in St. Albans, Vermont. Voices Against Violence and Laurie’s House provide services to victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence and stalking in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Vermont. All services are free and confidential.
In 2013 The Festival of Trees raised $10,000 to benefit The Franklin-Grand Isle United Way and Martha’s Kitchen, a service offering food and warmth to individuals and families in need.
In 2014, The Festival of Trees raised $8,000 to benefit Saint Albans Historical Museum.
In 2015, Festival of Trees raised $2500 to benefit the Friends of Lake Champlain.