Festival of Trees glistens in Winter Wonderland theme this year

By : 
Jordan Gerard

Houston County has a good chance of seeing a winter wonderland inside and outside of Festival of Trees this year.

With forecasted snow, the festival is sure to shine this year with returning events, including Santa’s visit, children’s activities, the gala, lighting of the park and more.

“When I think of winter wonderland, I see snow and trees,” volunteer Bethany Moen said. “It’s like looking out our windows after it has snowed. There’s glistening white snow and snow covered trees.”

Open viewing will be Friday, Nov. 23 from 1 to 8 p.m. Kids can come for fun activities from 4 to 7 p.m. and Santa will visit the winter wonderland from 5 to 7 p.m. Local 4-H clubs will serve supper, and holiday cookies will also be for sale. Bidding on silent auction items will also start Friday.

On Saturday, Nov. 24, the festival is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A food stand will be available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival will close for one hour to prepare for the gala.

The gala will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person, which includes appetizers and three drink tickets. A cash bar will also be available. Silent auction bidding ends at 8 p.m. and the live auction begins. 

On the final day, Sunday, Nov. 25, the festival begins at 9 a.m. and goes until about 1 p.m. There will be a holiday brunch served by the Girl Scout troops. 

Piano students of Jan Wold and Rose Weichart will also play in a recital during the event.

Proceeds from Festival of Trees are donated to three local groups including the Houston County Food Shelf, Care and Share and Ring and Run. A handful of 501c3 groups also receive donations from the event.

Donations to those groups help purchase Christmas gifts and food for Christmas dinners or meals in general.

Last year, the event raised $28,600, divided equally among the three groups. 

Christmas in the Village

The annual lighting of the Viking Memorial Park will take place Friday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m.

There will be hot cocoa, holiday treats and caroling at the cabin. Treats will require a free will donation. Proceeds go toward replacing lights and electrical cords for Christmas in the Village.


As always, volunteers are needed for both Festival of Trees and Christmas in the Village. This includes prep work, working at the gala or cabin and clean up after the events.

To get involved with Festival of Trees in 2018, contact Jacqui VanMinsel at 507-498-3456 or Bethany Moen at 507-498-5505.

To volunteer with Christmas in the Village, contact LeAnn Kraus at 507-498-5488 or Mark Dokken at 507-498-5306.

To volunteer with the Houston County Food Shelf, contact SEMCAC at 507-725-3677.

To volunteer with Houston County Ring and Run, contact them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ringandrun or email them at ringandrun.houstoncty@gmail.com.

To volunteer with Houston County Care and Share, contact Jill Hahn at 507-725-3157.

Please note: In this edition of the paper, there is an official registration form to fill out and send in to Festival of Trees. 

Normally businesses receive a letter with the form, however, this is a new way to reach businesses and individuals. 

Donated items for the auctions need to be received at the Fest Building by Wednesday, Nov. 21. If items are not received by then, the festival cannot guarantee they will be listed in the live auction.