FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The Fort Myers Beach Public Library is buzzing with festive spirit as it hosts the 6th Annual Christmas Tree Festival.
Dawn Thomas, President of the Fort Myers Beach Women's Club, shared the idea behind the festival, saying,
"We have local non-profits decorate all of these beautiful Christmas trees, and then we auction them off throughout the weekend. The money that we raise goes back to each individual non-profit."
Twenty different trees, each uniquely decorated by a benefiting non-profit, are up for auction. Decorated bins are placed nearby for donations to the Beach Kids Foundation. In 2021, the event raised close to $30,000, though this amount was reduced to $10,000 the previous year due to Hurricane Ian.
Organized by the Fort Myers Beach Women's Club that dates back to 1950, the festival not only provides an opportunity to support local causes but also adds an element of excitement to the holiday season. The trees' buyout prices range from $250 to $5,000, and buyers receive more than just a beautifully decorated tree.
"We have a 4 pack of twins spring training tickets behind home plate, 4 Everblades tickets, and 5-day passes for Pop Stroke," said Megan Allers, Co-chair of the Christmas Tree Festival.
Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Friends of Bay Oaks, a non-profit associated with the Bay Oaks Recreational Center. The Women's Club ensures attendees are treated to live music, local food vendors, and a cash bar.
"All these trees have hidden surprises as well, such as gift certificates for local restaurants or one is full of cash and scratch-off tickets, so they're all different," added Thomas, emphasizing the diverse offerings of the festival.
The festivities will continue into Saturday from 1 to 8 pm at the Fort Myers Beach Library, with the Chili Cook-Off being the main event.