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The Festival of Trees in Antrim kicks off with an open house on Saturday

  • The James A. Tuttle Library in Antrim is decked out with decorated trees, nutcrackers and gnomes for this year'a Festival of Trees. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The James A. Tuttle Library in Antrim is decked out with decorated trees, nutcrackers and gnomes for this year'a Festival of Trees. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The James A. Tuttle Library in Antrim is decked out with decorated trees, nutcrackers and gnomes for this year'a Festival of Trees. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • The James A. Tuttle Library in Antrim is decked out with decorated trees, nutcrackers and gnomes for this year'a Festival of Trees. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The James A. Tuttle Library in Antrim is decked out with decorated trees, nutcrackers and gnomes for this year'a Festival of Trees. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The James A. Tuttle Library in Antrim is decked out with decorated trees, nutcrackers and gnomes for this year'a Festival of Trees. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Friday, November 23, 2018 11:2AM

It’s been eight years since the idea came up for the Festival of Trees at the James A. Tuttle Library in Antrim.

It was started as a way to bring a little holiday cheer to the Antrim community with some free family, festive fun. And it’s grown by leaps and bounds to the point now where it takes over much of the available space on the libraries three floors.

“I wasn’t on the committee the first year, but I was one of the participants,” said committee chair Kristy Boule. “But we’ve kept it free because we want it to be something for people to enjoy during the holiday season.”

Between the trees created by businesses, organizations, churches, families and individuals for display, and the other ones used for decoration and background filler there are expected to be more than 150 trees at this year’s festival. The background theme for the ninth annual event is nutcrackers and gnomes, and while it’s not required to use the theme in the creation of trees, some of the entrants took the idea to heart.

“People can make whatever kind of tree they want,” Boule said. “Because we don’t want everyone to do the exact same thing.”

The Antrim Grange created a tree that is actually a 6 ½ foot gnome, while Linda Tenney of Tenney Farm did a 7 foot gnome theme tree. There are also a Cruella Deville tree, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party tree, a Wizard of Oz tree and one made using antique Christmas postcards. Jim Burnham, a Monadnock Quilter’s Guild member, made a large custom Nutcracker Quilt to go along with all the other holiday quilts donated for the event. But really, the decoration, size and theme of each tree was up to the group who creates it.

The trees are not for sale, and there is no entrance fee, but are rather brought together to give the community a way to celebrate the holidays, while not having to spend a single penny.

“This isn’t just for Antrim, it’s just held here,” Boule said. “And everyone has to experience it.”

The festival begins Saturday with the annual open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which is then followed with by the Antrim community tree lighting at 4 p.m. that includes a visit from Santa.

It will remain on display throughout the month of December and can be visited during regular library hours: Monday and Wednesday, from 2 to 6 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We plan all year for it,” Boule said. “And it takes about three weeks to setup. It’s a long process.”

There are prizes awarded in a number of different categories, like most creative, most beautiful, best under tree and tree topper. Visitors can vote until 4 p.m. on Dec. 15, after which the votes will be tallied and revealed during the Festival Gala on Dec. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The gala is held as both a community celebration of the festival, and a way to meet the artists who created the trees and displays this year.

“It could be by the 6-year-old next door or the master decorator down the road, a wood craftsmen or the person who collects antique postcards,” Boule said.

The largest tree this year stands at 9 feet tall, a nutcracker tree decorated by Great Brook School students, who used a small portion of teacher Patrick Cogan’s 450 piece collection. There are also a bunch of 6- and 7-foot tall creations. And since not everyone follows the background theme, you never quite know what you’ll find filling the three floors – until you’ve had a chance to wander around and fill out the voting sheet.

Top billing for the festival is the Gilded Tree Award.

“It’s clearly the one that people really enjoyed,” Boule said. “The one that celebrates the spirit of the festival.”

And it’s not just trees, as there are many other displays and arrangements, wreaths and quilts to admire.

There is a quilt raffle happening, and those who decide to make a donation at the Festival Gala will be entered for a chance to win one of the donated gift baskets.

On Dec. 19, the Hancock Bell Ringers will perform at the library at 6 p.m. for Ringing in the Holidays. Both the bell ringers performance and the Festival Gala will be lit by only the holiday lights.

“It gives a whole different feel to everything,” Boule said.

For more information, visit antrimfestivaloftrees.org or facebook.com/antrimfestivaloftrees. Those interested in creating a tree for next year, email antrimfot@gmail.com