Festival of Trees kicks off in downtown Fort Myers
FORT MYERS, Fla. - From angels to teddy bears southwest Florida's most colorful Christmas trees are on decorated and display in downtown Fort Myers.
"Elaborate and beautiful," said Madison Mitchell, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida Community Relations Coordinator describing the trees. "Beyond my wildest dreams."
This is the sixth year Goodwill Industries' has put on the holiday tradition known as the Festival of Trees at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers.
The week-long event features 25 trees hand decorated by local businesses. The eclectic and colorful Christmas trees - including an upside down tree, an Elvis tree, and a Charlie Brown tree - will be auctioned off next Saturday.
The proceeds benefit Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida.
"Last year we raised about $56,000," said Mitchell, "and we are hoping to surpass that."
The trees start at $500 but could go for as much as $4000, according to Mitchell.
The money raised goes to help those in need.
"Our mission," said Mitchell, "is to put people in the community with disabilities and other disadvantages put them towards employment and independence."
The Goodwill tree, decorated in teddy bears, is a yearly favorite. The winner often donates the tree to a children's hospital.
According to organizers, last year's event drew 5700 people from 39 states and 11 countries.
"It's a nice activity to do with your family," said Cathy Vidal, who has come three years in a row. "I like to see the uniqueness of all the trees they put up."
"I just think the trees are creative every year," said her daughter Priscilla. "It's nice to come with the family, it's a good event to come to."
"This event is important not only because the money goes back into the community," said Mitchell. "But it's also a community event." .
The festival is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Nov. 23 to Nov. 28 and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30.
Tickets to the Tux and Trees gala, where the trees will be auctioned off, are $100.