Antrim’s annual Festival of Trees set for December

One hundred decorated Christmas trees in one building.

That’s the target for year’s Antrim Festival of Trees.

Sponsored by the Friends of the James A. Tuttle Library and the town’s Historical Society, the free holiday festival at the library is a celebration of the creative talents and competitive spirit of the town’s residents. They’ll be putting together one-of-kind creations — some colorful, some patriotic, some comical — to deck the library’s halls.

“Every nook and cranny is filled with something different,” says Dawne Hugron, who with her husband Sonny has been making trees decorated with buttons each year for the festival. “It’s quite an extravaganza. It’s great to see what people come up with.”

Hugron says she always thinks she has the best idea ever, but then she has to top it the next year.

“Last year, we made a tree dedicated to the military, with quilted decorations that had military buttons and gold braid. This year, for the food pantry, we’re doing a futuristic tree — a tall pole wrapped with garlands and wire hoops with decorations.”

Kristy Boule, one of the organizers of the festival, says the event has been going on for four years.

“The first year, we went to businesses in town and families and asked them to make a tree. We put them up in the library and about 500 people came to our first open house. We don’t do it to raise money. It’s for fun.”

Last year’s festival drew 90 trees, so organizers are hoping to hit the century mark this year.

While Boule doesn’t want to give away too many details of what’s planned, a highlight of the display will be the “Home in Antrim” tree, with ornaments featuring buildings in town.

“It keeps getting bigger every year,” Boule says. “It’s about 12 feet tall. We couldn’t put the top on last year. I think it will be really unique this time.”

The committee is also planning a feature tree to honor the Boston Red Sox.

“We planned it way before they won the Series,” Boule says. “We’ve been collecting things all summer.”

The festival will kick off on Nov. 30, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, with an open house at the library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Ukulele Society of Antrim will perform, along with some of the Antrim Players. The day’s events also include a scavenger hunt, a quilt raffle and sales of holiday baked goods and treats.

Visitors at the open house can cast votes for their favorites in a range of categories, including a newly established Gilded Tree Award for the outstanding tree of the year. The award winners will be announced on Dec. 2

The festival brings out the competitive nature of many Antrim residents.

“It’s a great thing that the Historical Society does. We’ve done a tree every year,” says Rick Edmunds of Edmunds’ Hardware. “We haven’t won in the past. Hopefully we will this year. I don’t want to give away what we’re doing.”

Crista Salamy of Tenney Farm says her son, Jaxon, won an award for his tree last year.

He’s already figured out what he’s doing,” she says. “I have mine narrowed down.”

Salamy says the farm won the Most Elegant award in the first year with their white Christmas tree.

“The next year, we made it into an ice cream sundae, with a cherry on top. Last year, we dressed it up as a big chick. This year...” (long pause) “…. It’s going to be something else.”

Salamy said the festival is great addition to the Christmas season.

“It’s a fun event. You have to make multiple visits to see every tree and display. You need to go back and keep on looking. They’re magnificent.”

The trees and other holiday displays, including many wreaths, will remain on view during regular library hours in December: Mondays and Wednesdays, 2 to 6 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 8 p.m.; Fridays 9 a.m. to noon; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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