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Festival of Trees 2023: The Countdown is ON!

It’s only been weeks since Delaware Hospice volunteers transformed the Brantwyn Estates and the Delaware Hospice Center into mini winter wonderlands for the 35th annual Festival of Trees—the signature event that’s raised over $2 million for Delaware Hospice’s programs over the years.

And it might seem early to start thinking about next year…

But as soon as the festivities were over and this year’s gorgeous decorated trees had found new homes in nonprofits across the region, these committed event volunteers were already out shopping the sales for supplies for next year—even before official planning is slated to begin at their January wrap up meeting later this month.

About Festival of Trees

Each holiday season at the three-day event, over 50 professionally decorated trees showcase the talents of local designers who donate their time and decorations to help raise funds for Delaware Hospice. Some of the themes on display this year included pink flamingos, Mardi Gras, and the Grinch. A bakeshop featuring tempting confections, a marketplace with hand-crafted holiday décor, and live music added to the holiday magic at the two Delaware venues.

The centerpiece of the festival’s display is always the Remembrance Tree, which features ornaments purchased by individuals in memory of someone special. The purchaser can have their sentiments and their honoree’s name attached to the ornament, which can be picked up at the end of the festival or mailed in time to adorn the purchaser’s own tree for the holidays.

The seamless way the festival unfolds—even this year’s mind-boggling 90-minutes-short cleanup at the end—disguises the immense amount of work that goes into the event.

A Peek Behind the Scenes

From the months leading up to the festival down to the moment the last bits are tinsel are swept away, over 100 volunteers contribute thousands of people hours to the cause. They’re sharing their talents in myriad ways—crafting the wreaths, centerpieces, and more for the festival’s marketplace; evaluating venues; coordinating the tree designers and their themes; matching trees with facilities that requested to receive one after the event; staffing the welcome table; managing set up and break down; decorating the Remembrance Tree… the list goes on!

“I’ve been involved in Festival of Trees since 1997. It’s just a wonderful event that has become a part of my life, and I can’t imagine not working on Festival!” said Laura Robelen, cochair of New Castle County Festival of Trees and Delaware Hospice trustee, whose own decorating abilities contributed the Veteran’s Tree this year, as well as a red, white and black harlequin-themed tree.

“The creativity that is on display year after year is amazing, as is the dedication of the committee members and the event supporters,” Robelen continued. “We have been so fortunate to have sponsors and decorators involved for decades. My committee is simply the best, and they are so dedicated to the success of the event. Our focus is always on doing the best we can do to raise as much money for Delaware Hospice as possible. The organization is so important to us. Many of our committee members have used our hospice services in their own families and volunteer to give back in their own way.”

Do you have a can-do pitch-in attitude, a creative bent, or a talent for organizing? Consider sharing some of your skills as a Festival of Trees volunteer. Or mark your calendar for next year’s event to remember and celebrate in the name of a phenomenal cause. Please visit delawarehospice.org/volunteer for more information on how to get involved.

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