By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Staff
There was plenty to do over the weekend, but Walpole locals made sure to carve out time to attend the second annual Festival of Trees, hosted by the Junior Women’s Club of Walpole (JWCW). Held at the Walpole Council on Aging, the JWCW transformed the center into a winter wonderland with over forty festive trees, donated by members of the community. Families and neighbors met at the all-ages event up to vote for their favorite trees, which were then raffled off to take home one-of-a-kind holiday centerpieces.
Rebounding from the limitations of COVID, the second iteration of the Festival of Trees grew in number of donors, attendees, and creativity. Santa and Mrs. Claus made appearances as well, happy to take time out of their schedules to say hello. Seasonal snacks such as cocoa, candy canes, and popcorn were available for a small donation fee. A table of raffle baskets was also a new addition.
The two-day spectacle surpassed expectations.
“We were looking for something new to add to our portfolio of activities,” President Jen Healy of the Junior Women’s Club of Walpole remarked. “It isn’t about us, it’s about the community. Last year we had people jumping up and down when they won trees.”
Trees from local businesses, organizations, and members of the JWCW all received an ample number of compliments. Varying sizes of trees accommodated nearly every kind of living space, but did not sacrifice aesthetics. Ornaments, tree skirts, lights, and gifts under the trees all made a beautiful addition to the event.
“You just smile, you walk in there so excited,” President Healy mused.
Amongst the gorgeous faux firs, a Grinch tree garnered great attention. Donated by the Walpole Police Department, the green and red tree with the Grinch’s sinister mug and gangly hands would be a statement for any living room.
Meanwhile, an Elf tree, decorated and donated by the Hasenjaeger family, was made complete by a cardboard cutout of Buddy the elf and elf shoes dangling off the branches.
The JWCW hosts programs and donations in the interest of giving back year-round. “The money we raise allows us to give back to the community,” explained Healy. “Whether it’s the Veterans Association, or here at the Senior Center, we’ll do activities and events. We’ll do an ice cream social or a luncheon to kick off the summer season. We reach out to local families that may be going through hardships. We try to spread the money around. Whether it’s a school, the Senior Center, local families, or veterans. The money goes back to the community.”