LEEDS — The Fortnightly Club of Catskill’s 22nd annual Festival of Trees came to a close Sunday, seeing record participation.
The club is celebrating its 85th year. Members raise money to assist various organization within the community, and also provide services that are needed in the community, from buying medical equipment for certain buildings to scholarships.
The Festival of Trees is one of two big fundraisers held by The Fortnightly Club, the other being the Rip Van Winkle Wine, Brew and Beverage Festival held at The Historic Catskill Point.
The festival began Friday with the opening gala and ran through the weekend. Live Christmas music, vendors, food, raffles and auctions filled the weekend.
“The traffic yesterday was great,” event co-chair and president Christa Bush said. “This was one of the best ones ever.”
Bush said the only slight issue over the weekend was parking, as she said they got “mobbed” when the Catskill chorus and band came to preform.
Bids for the trees went all weekend until 4 p.m. on Sunday, Bush said.
The tree with the highest bids as of Sunday was a tree made by Unlimited Metalwork LLC, in Cairo for $700, which was a full metal Charlie Brown tree. Unlimited Metalwork currently holds the record for the tree that received the highest bid in the festival’s history: a Grinch-themed tree that went for $1,000.
“This community is amazing,” Bush said. “It’s amazing how they all come together.”
Ray Brooks, of Athens, goes to the festival every year.
“As always, they’re great,” he said. “We go every year — we love it.”
Brooks is a Navy veteran of the Cuban Missile Crisis era, from 1957-1962.
His favorite tree was the Hometown Heroes tree, decorated with miniature versions of the Hometown Hero Banners in Cairo.
“They should all get a prize,” Brooks said of the trees.
Gayle Tucker, of Cairo, has been going to the festival for three years.
“I love ‘em,” Tucker said of the trees.
Tucker said a few years ago there weren’t as many trees, but she thought they were decorated better.
“There weren’t as many — but they were absolutely beautiful,” she said. “They’re alright this year.”
Tucker’s favorite tree was a white tree decorated with candy canes called “Candy Cane Delight.”
To reach reporter Anthony Fiducia, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2309 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.