The holiday season brings out the best in trees and decorations in the Grand Forks, ND, area. The best part is a couple of activities are fund raisers.
The annual Festival of Trees features more than 50 decorated Christmas trees that are displayed at the Columbia Mall. They were donated by area businesses, along with cash donations. The trees are on display through Dec. 8. They are then distributed to area families in need.
More than 1,500 people have received Christmas trees since the program started, according to the Grand Forks Herald newspaper.
During our visit, the trees were decorated in several styles, ranging from cartoon characters to more traditional design.
One of our favorites was the Spider-Man tree. It had ornaments featuring the webbed super hero. A stuffed Spider-Man toy sat at the top of the tree.
Another favorite was a Peanuts-themed tree. Charlie Brown and the gang were included on the tree as decorations. Snoopy, of course, topped the tree.
Disney characters were included on another tree. Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse et al found their way on the tree.
Someone had to have had a sweet tooth when they decorated one tree with candy, cupcakes and more sugar.
Not to be outdone, several trees had traditional decorations.
The families receiving these trees are fortunate during tough times.
As for the money donations, they go to the Drop-in Center, a community center.
Another civic group using the holiday season as a fund-raising opportunity is the Lions Club. It has hosted “Christmas in Lincoln Park” since the early 1990s. The funds raised are used throughout the year for charitable events. Admission for the drive through the park is $5 for cars, $10 for limousines and $20 for busses.
The park is decorated with Christmas lights sponsored by local businesses and organizations. The event runs through Dec. 31.
A variety of displays highlight the drive. Traditional “Season’s Greetings” can be seen during the drive.
Fun displays are lit, too. Penguins frolicking in the snow were among our favorites. My daughter Mallory has loved penguins since she was a child.
Speaking of more penguins, a penguin is hanging out on a swing set with Snoopy and a snowman (I assume it’s Frosty).
Lincoln Park’s holiday lights are protected by three wooden soldiers.
A small house is decorated with lights and has a tree outside.
While the park has a lot of festive displays, more traditional displays can be seen.
A few nativity scenes are located along the drive.
Commercialism evens meets religion, as Santa Claus bows to visit the baby Jesus in what we all agreed was one of our favorite displays.
While, it may not fall under charity, we do have proof that Santa Claus will visit Grand Forks and other communities statewide. “Santa comes to North Dakota” was a cute read at the University of North Dakota book store.
While the Festival of Trees lasts only about a week, I encourage you to check it out, along with “Christmas in Lincoln Park.” If you can’t make it to Grand Forks, check out the public holiday displays in your area. I guarantee you’ll love it!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!