The Third Annual Festival of Trees is returning soon to Heritage Square, Wahpeton.
Created as a way to spread holiday spirit, the Festival of Trees is a collection of artificial Christmas trees sponsored and decorated by Twin Towns Area businesses, organizations and families.
“The trees will be gifted to families who otherwise would not have a tree for the holiday season,” Richland-Wilkin Kinship Director Rebekah Christensen wrote.
Kinship continues to work in cooperation with other agencies to spread the word about the Festival of Trees. Since the trees are artificial and can be used every year, each donated tree is a onetime gift.
“We would love to be a blessing to your family this Christmas,” Christensen continued. “Bear in mind that we may have more applications than trees.”
Trees will be displayed at Heritage Square, downtown Wahpeton, after the week of Thursday, Nov. 19. Anyone being gifted a tree will be contacted approximately Thursday, Dec. 10.
“You will need to pick up your tree after 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17 or between 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18. We are not able to deliver this year,” Christensen wrote.
Twin Towns Area residents and visitors are reminded that the Wahpeton Christmas Tree will be lit this season. However, public safety is the top priority.
“There will be no public ceremony downtown in Heritage Square,” Daily News previously reported. “(Anyone) can watch the lighting through Facebook Live at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20.”
As well as the Wahpeton Christmas Tree, the Leach Public Library’s lawn display and the Holiday Lane attraction in Chahinkapa Park are also returning. Wahpeton’s Christmas lights are expected to be fully lit by 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20.
The city is also once again inviting residents to bring out their inner Griswold with the Second Annual Griswold Award lighting contest.
“The first place winner will receive $100, and the second and third place winners will receive $50 each,” Wahpeton Community Development Director Chris DeVries said.
Lighting contest participants can contact DeVries at 701-642-8559 or firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 to officially enter. The winners will be announced Wednesday, Dec. 16.
The Griswold Award contest is sponsored by Lies, Bullis & Hatting, Attorneys at Law.
Here’s what interested families should know about the Festival of Trees application. You’ll be asked:
• for your name, address, city, phone number and email address, if available
• if you have children, their ages and genders, and to tell a little bit about your situation
• what size tree would work best in your space, whether it’s a tabletop size, a smaller tree, a medium tree or even a large tree
Anyone with questions can call Christensen at 701-672-0303, or Tammy Juneau, Richland County Social Services, at 701-642-7751.
In 2019, Daily News interviewed Tami Sirek, who invented the Festival of Trees.
“I know families who started buying trees to prepare right after Christmas,” Sirek said. “Through the year, whenever they went shopping, they’d save items they liked. They were collecting all that time for this.”
Nearly 40 individuals, families and local businesses took part in the 2019 Festival of Trees. The festival, like other Twin Towns Area holiday attractions, can be safely viewed by individuals practicing social distancing.
The Festival of Trees application must be returned by Monday, Dec. 7 to either of two addresses.
Richland-Wilkin Kinship is located at 509 1/2 Dakota Ave., Suite 104, Wahpeton, ND 58075. Please mark “Attention: Rebekah.”
Richland County Social Services is located at 413 Third Ave. N., Wahpeton, ND 58075. Please mark “Attention: Tammy Juneau.”
Look to Daily News for continued coverage of Christmas events.