Christmas Charity Event on the Gulf Coast
The Festival of Trees in Clearwater, Florida is a charity event with a great twist. The first impression is a good one. Walking in the front of the show room, you are met by a field of decorated Christmas trees. The second impression is even better. Not only is this a Christmas tree show, but rather an artists’ show room, with Christmas trees used as a medium for their talents. Each tree has a theme, making every display unique. The trees are judged by their size, creating several rankings by which the artists can participate. Among the unique displays were a honey bear tree, a Smurf tree, a pirate tree, and a tree displaying street signs from the Clearwater area. The event is hosted by Uparc, who states their purpose on the banner of their web site as, “A Spirit of Hope for the Developmentally Challenged.” The concept for the Festival of Trees is simple. A participating artists is given a tree to decorate, which he or she then designs using any materials desired. While the emphasis is a traditional Christmas, the variations in the designs seem as though they might be endless. The beautifully decorated trees are then sold. Some of the price tags we ranged from $100 to $600 dollars, while the Feature Tree sold for $2,400 , all donated to charity.
Holiday Lights in the Gardens at Florida Botanical Gardens
The Florida Botanical Gardens put up their holiday lights again this year, creating one of the best light shows in the area. Considering how well the Gulf Coast region does holiday lights, that’s saying something. The show is called Holiday Lights in the Gardens, filling the already attractive Florida Botanical Gardens with colorful lights. The botanical gardens have winding pathways leading though separate, themed areas. When the sunset arrives, the lights come up, turning the Florida gardens into a completely different type of display. Live musicians and street performers entertain the crowds, giving the event an even greater appeal. Toy trains run around the central Christmas tree which is placed in the well-known Wedding Garden. Opening night was November 29th, with the eager crowds filling up the overflow parking lots. The show runs until January 1st, so head on out to Largo, Florida to see this eye-pleasing holiday light show.