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After months of preparation the Festival of Trees is ready to open its doors

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI)- The annual tradition at the Elks Lodge the Festival of Trees is making its return. Its theme this year is a Winter Wonderland. The Lodge has been hard at work for months trying to get everything for this year's festival ready.

"We've been working on Festival for about the last six months, meeting a couple of times a month, getting everything prepared. And we've got lots of beautiful trees getting set up here today over at the Elks and I think we've got like 37 trees, big trees and about the same number of mini trees. Table top type trees come several doors, fireplace displays," said Mike O'Bleness the chair of the festival this year.

Caroline McPheeters is one of the decorators of a tree on display this year. She says designing a tree is fun but can be challenging. "It's gets more fun every year. You get to plan, the decorations, the theme for the tree, this year happens to be 'Bells will be Ringing'."

She says the plan for next year is already starting to form. "I picture it out a year in advance (the design of the tree) and start thinking about next years tree right now." She also says her family is a part of process helping her find the ornaments and other decorations for the trees.

Some other participants in this year's festival Lexie Wilson and Mark Capner have been participating in the festival for the past six years.

Wilson says that the experience has been more than great as she decorates for Alpine Ear, Nose and throat, and like McPheeters changes the tree every year. "Every year we chose a different theme, different colors."

Capner says it takes a group effort as they go to different stores to make sure all the decorations are set for the next edition of the tree. "T o get run around to different craft stores and different craft fairs pick up things for the whole year to put on their tree."

They add that its a labor of love and they invite everyone come and see all the trees available this year.

O'Bleness says seeing the talents and different designs on display is special. "It's just really uplifting when you look at the talent that people donate to do their trees and their decorations, and then the businesses that come in and purchase those trees or whole individuals. "

O'Bleness says the proceeds from the event will go to help people in need. "It's been a great community event and tradition for a long time and it's great to be able to now the proceeds from the festival go to support people with disabilities throughout eastern Idaho through our nonprofit sponsor of the event, which is the Development Workshop Foundation. "

Last year O'Bleness says they raised money for six different non profits. The fair will open officially Monday November 14 and run until Friday November 18. It opens Monday at noon and will stay open till 9pm. Afterwards its open daily from 10am-9pm. You can find it at the Elks Lodge in Idaho Falls at 640 E Elva St, Idaho Falls, ID 83401

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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