Ahh Christmas. Giant trees, big plates of food, and so many lights a single suburban house can be seen from space. But among all the bling, it’s also a time for giving – something the Festival of Trees does in fabulous style.
Celebrating its 10th year, this event held at Ballet Arizona in Phoenix showcases Christmas trees, but not as you’ve seen them before. They are donated by local organizations and made into spectacular festive monuments by talented LGBTI designers.
These trees aren’t just to look at – they are raffled off to attendees, with the money going towards local LGBTI charities and non-profits.
Though rafflers will have their hearts set on the grand travel tree. The most majestic of them all, winning this tree comes with a six day all-expenses paid trip for two to Amsterdam. Which is a Christmas present we can all get down with.
Carrick Sears, organizer of the Festival of Trees, told Gay Star News: ‘This is the one time of year when the entire LGBT Community can come together and celebrate our diversity and unity, decorate trees, recognize our local designers and of course support our LGBT non-profits all while having a merry time!’
A Festival of Trees and Charity
This year, the money is going towards three special charities. The first is the Phoenix Pride Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to LGBTI students.
The next is the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus, an arts organization providing education and a safe space to meet. Money will also go to One-N-Ten, an organization helping LGBTI youth by providing the tools to improve self-esteem and self-acceptance.
Over the last 10 years, the event has raised $200,000 in financial and toy donations for local LGBTI organizations.
A $75 ticket gives you access to the event, alongside a silent auction for wreaths and menorahs, live band, and hors d’oeuvres. Meanwhile, a $100 ticket gets you a VIP ticket.
Douglas MacKenzie, from Visit Phoenix, told us about what made this festival so special.
He said: ‘The vibrancy and commitment of the Phoenix LGBT community shines at holidays and all year to make our city a welcoming destination to LGBT visitors from across the globe.’
Ridiculous Christmas decorations and helping the local community – now that’s the Christmas spirit.