BELFAST — This year’s Festival of Trees will be sprouting up the weekend of Dec. 10-12 at the former Moss building, 248 Northport Ave., with proceeds to benefit Belfast Area High School Class of 2022.

Hours for the Festival are Friday, 4 to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $2 for everyone over the age of 2, and tickets to bid on trees are 50 cents each.

Funds raised will be dedicated to Project Graduation, a chemical-free, supervised event sponsored by parents to allow students to have a safe, fun celebration on their graduation night. This year Brandy Woods is coordinating the effort along with Class Adviser Molly Ross and a 10-parent committee.

Woods, whose daughter is a senior, said the Festival of Trees is the biggest fundraising event of the year and will be the deciding factor in where the brand-new graduates go. The students ultimately will vote on three to five different options in the spring. Last year, the event raised over $21,000, which Woods said they are hoping to beat this year.

Each tree will have a bucket where attendees can place their tickets. Winners will be drawn once the event is over at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12. “We will call the winners and post the names on Facebook,” Woods said.

There will be door prizes, a silent auction for a number of bigger items, including a couple of African Safari trips, as well as a bake sale, warm drinks, and even a visit from Santa on Saturday. Woods said some sponsored trees include a hiking/camping adventure awaits tree, an off-to-college tree, a gift card tree with all local businesses and a toy tree.

This year there are over 100 sponsors, she said, and offered a big thank-you to all who contributed.

Cynthia Martell, school counselor at Capt. Albert Stevens School, who is also lending a hand with the event, explained that typically a local business sponsors a tree or offers a donation that can be added to a tree. It can then decorate and create a themed Christmas tree with items from the business. 

The event moved to the former Moss building this year primarily because the facility offers plenty of space during this time of COVID-19. Martell said thanks to the diligent efforts of parents and the generosity of area businesses and citizens, the festival will have at least 45 trees, which is more than in previous years.

Previous classes have raised between $15,000 and $20,000, according to Martell, and have gone river rafting, played paintball, or visited an amusement park that is open exclusively for the students. Often the adventure starts graduation evening and goes through the night into the next day. 

Frequently the students will stop for a movie, a comedy show, or visit a recreation center or trampoline park during the evening, on the way to the day’s fun. 

Martell said, “I believe this is popular with students and well-attended because it is usually a really big, fun event and a great way for the students to have one final memory with their class.” 

For more information, check out BAHS Festival of Trees on Facebook.