By Troy Brooks
The Christmas season may still be a few weeks out but you can still prepare to take part in the holiday celebration. The Chetola Resort is hosting Watauga County’s first ever Festival of Trees. this year. This festival gives people the opportunity to decorate a tree with a theme of their choice at the Chetola Resort in support of the Western Youth Network (WYN).
The decorated trees will be showcased in the Ridge Room at 185 Chetola Lake Dr. from Dec. 3 through Dec. 6 where guests can appreciate them and bid on them in a silent auction in support of the WYN. Refreshments will also be provided at the festival during these days.
“The whole premise is that people can come in and go through the tree, wreathes, and holiday decor and then can bid for these items online,” said Allison West, director of marketing at Chetola Resort. “They will be decorated by everyday people who want to make their contribution to the WYN.”
One artistic aspect of the festival is the fact that every tree will be designed around a specific theme envisioned by its decorator. Possible design ideas include but are not limited to holiday movies, photography, winter sports, mountain living, pets, and many more. As the WYN put it, the sky is the limit.
“Each tree will have unique designs,” said Wesley Berry, director of development at the WYN.
The tree will be up for auction, including the decorations on the tree and the gifts underneath. It will be an online auction so you’ll be able to use your personal computer or cell phone to keep up to date on the bids.
Admission for the event is free for both decorators and viewers. Donations to the WYN are greatly appreciated.
Registration for decorators is free, and the trees will be provided by the North Carolina Christmas Tree Growers association.
Decorators will be responsible for their own decorations and gifts in accordance with their theme. These items will remain with the tree and become property of the purchaser. Registration ends on Thursday, Oct. 15. Decorating spots are quickly running out so anybody interested in decorating a tree should register right away.
According to Berry, the festival will showcase over 30 decorated trees and wreaths for public viewing and auctioning.
The festival will also be accepting handmade items for the silent auction including art, pottery, and jewelry. These items will be placed by the Festival Committee for the auction.
As this will be the High Country’s first time ever hosting a festival like this. Both Berry and West believe it will be a great addition to the holiday traditions in the area.
“It takes advantage of the season. Christmas is a wonderful time of the year to be in the High Country with the snow, skiing and the decor that comes alive in Watauga,” said Berry. “The festival gives people an option to take part in the holiday season, whether it be through decorating or visiting to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and view the decor.”
“I think it’s going to have a really good impact,” said Allison West. “One of the great things about it will be the holiday feel. We get thousands of people every year to drive through Chetola for the Festival of Lights. The two events together will great a wonderful atmosphere for the holidays.”
The tree viewing will take place Dec. 3 through Dec. 6. Times vary depending on the date.
Thursday, Dec. 3 from 5-10 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 4 from 2-10 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For registration information and tree design guidelines, visit www.westernyouthnetwork.org/wordpress/festival-of-trees
For more information on the Festival of Trees, visit www.chetola.com/festivaloftrees.html