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Festival of Trees to bring holiday spirit to Minot

Festival of Trees returns with market, food, music

Submitted Photo A nativity set with a cedar creche, designed and created by Greg Keller, is among items for sale at the Festival of Trees auction.

The annual Festival of Trees is back this weekend with food, shopping and music at the North Dakota State Fair Event Center in Minot.

Sponsored by Dakota Hope Clinic, the event will feature new indoor and outdoor activities along with opportunities to participate in person or at home during the Concert in the Trees and silent and live auctions.

Opening at noon Friday, the festival’s Dakota Holiday Market and Sweet Shoppe will feature nearly 60 Pride of Dakota and other vendors. Showcased products include home decor, jewelry, sporting goods, apparel, pet items and breads and pies that would be perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.

Pam Emmil of 5 Second Rule Bracelet said the vendor showcase is important for small businesses such as hers that have lost out on many market opportunities due to COVID-19. Social media and websites can’t replace that personal interaction, she said.

“This will be my first time in Minot, but I do have a lot of Minot clients so they are excited for me to come,” she said. “We are small businesses and we really need local support more than ever right now.”

Emmil said she’s been pleased with the virus safety precautions taken at shows she’s attended and that are planned at Festival of Trees.

“The space that the shows now have is so nice. It’s so spread out. Our booths are bigger. It’s safer going to a vendor show than it is now going to a grocery store,” she said.

Emmil said she will have plenty of hand sanitizer available, and disinfectant wipes will be used frequently at her booth.

Concessions and the Concert in the Trees will be located across the hall from the market, open from noon to 8 p.m. Featuring local musical talent, Concert in the Trees will be live streamed for viewing from home. Go to www.festoftrees.com for the link.

Performing will be pianist Renae Hoggarth, Minot-Denbigh Express, the Our Redeemer’s Christian School choir, vocalist/guitarist Jared Schumaier, vocalist/guitarist Kelly Bristow, saxophone musician Shannon Kupser, vocalist and piano/clarinet duo Kris and Lilly Solemsaas and musician and vocalist Chloe Marie.

Chloe Marie (Watterud), who performs at 7 p.m., said she’s excited to get the chance to entertain in a year when the usual opportunities haven’t materialized. She especially looks forward to performing holiday music.

“Christmas is my favorite holiday so I love being able to play Christmas music and celebrate Christmas,” she said. “I want to bring the same magical Christmas cheer, even though it might be a little bit different.”

Along with the entertainment, people can browse silent auction items and begin bidding Friday. They can preview the decorated Christmas trees to be sold at the dinner and auction Saturday evening.

On Saturday, the Dakota Holiday Market and Sweet Shoppe will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Concessions again will be available and a “Follow the Star” family treasure hunt and open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A free photo booth will give families a chance to get a photo for their Christmas cards. Continuing on Saturday will be the preview of decorated Christmas trees and bidding on silent auction items.

At noon, runners will take off during “Dashing Through the Snow,” the first annual winter 5K Race and one-mile Family Fun Run. The fun run is reminiscent of The Amazing Race, with four tasks to be performed as part of the run.

Organizer Lindsay Hoes encourages participants to wear their ugly sweaters for a chance at the ugliest sweater prize. Prizes also will be given to top finishers, and all participants will receive beanie hats. Candy canes and hot chocolate will be available at the end of the races.

The cost to enter the 5K is $35. The Family Fun Run is $25 a person or $90 per team. Register online by following the link at festoftrees.com or between 11-11:45 a.m. Saturday in the lobby of the State Fair Center.

The course will follow the path past Lowe’s Garden Center and through Roosevelt Park. Participants must wear masks at the start and finish and at other times when in proximity of others. Social distancing also is required.

Except for “Dashing Through the Snow,” there are no admission fees for the Friday or Saturday daytime events. Free-will donations will be collected for Dakota Hope Clinic.

Tickets for the Saturday evening auction and dinner are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets for the Festival of Trees Dinner & Auction are available online at www.festoftrees.com. Tickets also are available at Thrivent, Caribbean Color, Dakota Hope Clinic and Scheels.

Anyone who wants to watch the auction at home can go to www.festoftrees.com. Anyone who wants to bid from home can go to https://dhc.cbo.io or call the helpline at 203-2460 for help in obtaining a bid number and viewing and bidding on the items.

Doors will open at 5 p.m., with holiday music, food, viewing of trees, raffle ticket sales and bidding on silent auction items. Nativity sets, centerpieces, wreaths and many other items will be available for bids. The live auction of decorated Christmas trees begins at 6:30 p.m. Next-day delivery and set-up of trees is available within a 10-mile radius of Minot.

Proceeds of admission events and auctions will benefit Dakota Hope Clinic, a pregnancy help center serving north central and northwest North Dakota. The 501(c)(3) Christian non-profit organization was formed to help women and men facing an unintended pregnancy. All services at Dakota Hope Clinic are free and confidential.

Covid Precautions and Safety Measures

Festival of Trees will held following guidelines provided by First District Health Unit, in keeping with recent governor’s orders for events.

– The capacity limit is 1,000 people in the Dakota Holiday Market and Sweet Shoppe and up to 600 people for other activities.

– Hand sanitizer and masks will be available.

– Signs will be posted informing attendees about the governor’s mask mandate, which has exceptions for children under age 5, and for individuals with a medical or mental health condition or disability that makes it unreasonable to wear a mask. The order further stipulates that masks can be removed when consuming food and beverages.

– During the Concert in the Trees, singers on stage will be a safe distance from the audience.

– Volunteers will clean and sanitize surfaces throughout the two days.

– During Friday’s Concert in the Trees, tables will be sanitized between patrons.

– Volunteers serving dinner will wear gloves and masks.

– Anyone who has symptoms or feels uncomfortable should not attend, but consider participating in the Concert in the Trees and auction through the live stream.

– Anyone can buy a $20 ticket online to be eligible to win a $250 or $500 Visa gift card. Need not be present to win.

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