Festival of Trees to bring holiday cheer to GSU

Marissa Martin

A Christmas tree wonderland on Georgia Southern University’s campus commences the holiday season with good tidings and thanksgiving.

The fifth annual Festival of Trees opened to the public yesterday and is free for tour between 1-6 p.m. until this Friday.

“This is a non-profit event where either a company or business donates a Christmas tree or elects to decorate a Christmas tree, or they can donate a wreath or gingerbread house,” Charlotte Parrish-Woody, marketing director for continuing education, said.

The proceeds from this event benefits Christmas in the Boro and Toys for Tots, Samantha Monteagudo, marketing assistant for continuing education, said.

The Nessmith Lane Building Conference Center holds this event the week before Thanksgiving as a tradition to begin the holiday season.

There are over twenty trees decorated this year, and they will be raffled off on Saturday, Parrish-Woody said.

“We wanted to have an event that would give back to the community, and we’ve been putting on this event the same way since the beginning,” Parrish-Woody said.

“Each tree has a box where you can put your raffle ticket in. The person whose name is drawn takes home the tree,” Parrish-Woody said.

250 families applied for support, and we received recognition from the Marine Corps for our efforts in the past, Parrish-Woody said.

“Each tree was donated by a number of our sponsors like Wal-Mart, Lowes, Tractor Supply and Agri-Supply,” Monteagudo said.

Each business decorating a tree does their own theme, and groups have begun decorating these trees last week, Monteagudo said.

The decorated trees are raffled off, and the ginger bread houses are for display, Monteagudo said.

“Decorators from school organizations like Eagle Dining services and the Wild Life Center will have trees decorated there,” Woody-Parish said.

“The raffle tickets are a dollar a piece, and in the past we have generated between 1,300 and 1,800 dollars,” Woody-Parrish said.

Monteagudo said, “This is the biggest group we’ve had. Last year we had 10 to 12 but this year it looks like a winter wonderland in here.”