When Detroit Lakes' first-ever Festival of Trees was held at the Holiday Inn last year, it was a dream come true for local resident Skye Fingalson.
Fingalson, who is employed as a showroom manager and residential sales and design consultant for I'll Tile and Stone in Detroit Lakes, had attended a similar event in her hometown of Valley City, N.D., several times, and wanted to bring a Christmas tree festival to the community that she now calls home.
"I'm really passionate about it," she says. "Last year's festival was a huge success. We were able to give over $10,000 to the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center. This year we'd like to double that."
And with a total of 12 local businesses sponsoring trees this year - up from nine last year - as well as an increase in the number of silent auction and door prize items donated, Fingalson believes it's an achievable goal.
"Our businesses are being really creative this year," she said, noting that one of the requirements for participating is that each business must come up with a name for their tree - a name that hopefully relates to the unique theme chosen by the business for decorating their tree.
For example: Lakeridge Dental has chosen to name their tree "Floss-ty the Snowman," while La Barista has chosen "A Foodie's Christmas." At Ease Dock & Lift's tree is called "Christmas at the Lake," while Seven Sisters Spirits has chosen "Let's Get Lit" - an appropriate name for a tree that features 60 bottles of wine.
Besides the four mentioned above, other participating businesses will include Dynamic Homes, Hub 41, Paymasters, Foltz Buildings, The Real Estate Company, Midwest Bank, Seifert Septic Service/Milt's Barn, and of course, I'll Tile & Stone.
In order to comfortably accommodate the larger number of trees and donated prizes and silent auction items - as well as to potentially sell more tickets - I'll Tile & Stone is moving the location of this year's Festival of Trees from the Holiday Inn to the Historic Holmes Theatre Ballroom. The Saturday, Nov. 25 event will get underway at 5 p.m., and is expected to last until approximately 9 p.m.
"All tickets must be purchased in advance," Fingalson said, noting that they need to have an accurate headcount for the dinner, as the meals are being catered by an off-site business - Brygge Taps & Tastes - instead of being prepared in-house as they were last year.
The cost of each ticket is $30, which covers not only the multi-course meal, but live entertainment by local musician Danny Holt - "he did an awesome job last year, so we're bringing him back," said Fingalson - as well as an even bigger selection of door prizes donated by local businesses, not to mention an increased number of unique gift baskets donated for the silent auction. Those businesses or individuals who purchase enough tickets to fill a table of eight can have one reserved for them at no additional cost.
As the name of the fundraiser implies, the main event of the evening is the live tree auction.
"You don't have to come with the intent to buy a tree," says Fingalson, "but if you need a new Christmas tree for your home or business, this would be an excellent way to not only donate to a good cause, but to walk away with a fully-decorated tree for the holidays."
All proceeds from the event will once again be going to the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center.
"Last year, a couple of people purchased trees, then donated them right back to the Crisis Center," Fingalson said.
And even those guests who do not purchase a tree are welcome to vote for their favorites, she added; a People's Choice Award will be given to the top vote-getter. Last year's winner was Dynamic Homes' entry, "Walking in a Winter Wonderland."
In addition to the live and silent auctions, and the door prizes, there will also be a few new games of chance for attendees to try their hand at bringing home some special gifts.
"We will have card games, and a drawing for a 'booze wagon' - a little red wagon filled up with all different kinds of beer, wine, liquor and chocolates that's valued at over $400," said Fingalson, adding that tickets for the booze wagon drawing will be sold for $20 each.
With all of the advance planning involved in this year's festival, the Nov. 25 business fundraiser promises to be even more fun-filled than last year's inaugural event, said Fingalson. "I'm really looking forward to it," she added.
For more information, or to reserve tickets, please contact I'll Tile & Stone at 218-847-0335. Tickets are also available at the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center.