Lakes Crisis Center's Festival of Trees fundraiser offers tour of local businesses, online tree bidding and even some cash prizes

This is the fifth time that the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center has hosted a Festival of Trees fundraiser — but the annual holiday event looks quite a bit different this year. After it was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, organizers were taking no chances with this year's festival, and made it into a tour, with trees being displayed at 16 local businesses and each tree being offered for online bidding instead of holding one large, in-person live auction. Trees are now available for viewing, and bidding, until noon on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

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This tree in the lobby of Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre is one of 16 trees and adornments included in the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center's 2021 Festival of Trees Tour. Titled "An Old-Fashioned Christmas," the tree was sponsored by Essentia Health St. Mary's, and it "celebrates the Detroit Lakes of yesteryear with nostalgic photos, candle lights, and strings of popped corn." (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

There was no Festival of Trees in Detroit Lakes last year. In fact, there were very few in-person events happening at all during the 2020 holiday season, or through much of early 2021.

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This "Land of Misfit Toys"-themed tree, complete with Rudolph and the Abominable Snowman, is one of 16 trees included in the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center's 2021 Festival of Trees. It can be found at The Real Estate Co. in Detroit Lakes, which is also the sponsor of the tree. (Submitted photo)

With COVID-19 concerns ramping up in Minnesota once again, organizers of the annual fundraiser hosted by the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center (LCRC) were taking no chances of this year's event being canceled, and made all bidding for the trees online-only.


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Midwest Bank's entry in the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center's 2021 Festival of Trees, created by artist Paula Bimberg, is one of the more unique "trees" included in the fundraiser. (Submitted photo)

"After two years of canceled fundraisers, we didn't want to have to cancel this one at the last minute too," explained LCRC Executive Director Anna Sellin.

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This tree, titled "Gnome for the Holidays," can be found at Minnesota Title & Closing Co. in downtown Detroit Lakes. Minnesota Title created its own entry for the 2021 Festival of Trees, which raises funds for the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

But at the same time, they wanted the public to see the beautiful, creative tree designs in person, rather than just in photos — so they turned the festival into a tour, with the 16 trees and adornments included in the auction fundraiser being displayed at local businesses for public viewing during business hours.

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This elegant Christmas swag, created by Detroit Lakes Floral & Gifts as its entry into the 2021 Festival of Trees, is one of 16 trees and adornments included in the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center's holiday fundraiser this year.

Tree locations are as follows: 180 Balance and DL Floral, both inside the Washington Square Mall; Minnesota Title & Closing Co. (819 Washington Ave.); Edward Jones (818 Washington Ave.); Mainstream Boutique (833 Washington Ave.); Beautiful Junque (918 Washington Ave.); Central Floral (310 Frazee St. — inside Central Market building); Bremer Bank (115 Holmes St. East); Historic Holmes Theatre (806 Summit Ave.); Midwest Bank (613 Hwy. 10 East); Diamond Willow (1558 Randolph Road); Schiller's House (1208 Rossman Ave.); Detroit Mountain (29409 170th St.); Seven Sisters Spirits (25275 S. Melissa Drive); and Jay's Garden Boutique (33636 State Hwy. 34).


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Bremer Bank's entry in the 2021 Festival of Trees, created by Mike Erickson, Simon George, Brian Bigger and the staff at the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center, contains 450 lights and approximately 250 ornaments. (Submitted photo)

As an incentive for going to view all 16 trees and adornments, LCRC will also be holding a cash prize drawing on Wednesday, Dec. 1. Stamp cards are available at all 16 tree locations, and those who pick one up and fill it with stamp stickers can turn it in at any of the 16 locations by noon on Nov. 30.

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Central Floral's entry in the 2021 Festival of Trees, which falls in the adornment category, is a natural-look wreath contributed by artist Tracy Tungesvick. (Submitted photo)

"Each business has their own sticker," Sellin said, and those stickers are designed to be placed in designated spots on the stamp card. "To be eligible for the drawing, participants must turn in a completed card."

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This partially-completed stamp card shows all the locations included in the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center's 2021 Festival of Trees fundraiser. The back side of the card is where the adornment (i.e., wreaths and swag) locations can be stamped. Only cards with all 16 stamps can be included in the prize drawing that will take place at noon on Dec. 1; a total of $500 in cash prizes will be given away.


Cash prizes totaling $500 will be awarded, though the exact amount of each prize has not yet been determined, she noted. Event sponsor Design2Sell donated the $500 to be given away in the drawings, Sellin added.

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Artist Janaya Davis created this beautiful adornment for display at her business, Jay's Garden Boutique, as her entry into the 2021 Festival of Trees fundraiser for the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center. (Submitted photo)

Though past proceeds from the tree auction have often gone to specific LCRC programs, she said, this year's proceeds will go to support the center as a whole.

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Diamond Willow in Detroit Lakes is home to this 2021 Festival of Trees entry, decorated with homespun reindeer and other ornaments that give it a cozy feel. (Submitted photo)

Sellin also noted that those who take the tour will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite tree; the winner will receive a trophy donated for the occasion by Trophy House, another festival sponsor.


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Seven Sisters Spirits of Detroit Lakes is home to this elegant, 7-feet-tall Festival of Trees entry, which was created by Chelsey Malstrom. (Submitted photo)

Photos of the trees have been posted on the live auction website . A link to the auction site is also available at the LCRC website , and videos and other event updates will be posted on the center's Facebook page .

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Designer Belinda Freeman and Mainstream Boutique owner Barb Zahasky created this 2021 Festival of Trees entry, which employs traditional Scandinavian elements and "a touch of whimsy." (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

If you go

What: Lakes Crisis & Resource Center presents the Festival of Trees Tour 2021

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Edward Jones Financial advisors Anna Schmitz and Aaron Tait contributed this 2021 Festival of Trees entry, which was created by designer Andrew Santhavi. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

Where: Sixteen Detroit Lakes locations including 180 Balance, Beautiful Junque, Bremer Bank, Central Floral, DL Floral, Detroit Mountain, Diamond Willow, Edward Jones, Historic Holmes Theatre, Jay's Garden Boutique, Mainstream Boutique, Midwest Bank, Minnesota Title & Closing Co., Schiller's House and Seven Sisters Spirits.


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Detroit Mountain's 2021 Festival of Trees entry was created by Michelle and Chris Feland. The nine-foot tree includes red, gold and silver sparkling ornaments along with colorful ribbons and bows. (Submitted photo)

When: Now through Tuesday, Nov. 30

How: Pick up a stamp card at any of the participating businesses listed above and get your card stamped at each location, then turn in the completed card for a chance to win a cash prize. Drawing to be held at noon on Dec. 1.

Schiller's House on Rossman Avenue is home to this 2021 Festival of Trees entry. (Submitted photo)

You can also bid on one of the trees to take home for the holidays by going to the live auction website at , or clicking on the link at either the LCRC website, , or its Facebook page, . Bidding ends at noon on Nov. 30. All proceeds will benefit the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center, which is based in Detroit Lakes.


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Beautiful Junque in downtown Detroit Lakes contributed this beautiful Festival of Trees entry, created by Alicia Bowers and Carol Foltz. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

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The front entrance of 180 Balance in the Washington Square Mall is brightened up by this entry into the 2021 Festival of Trees. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

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