Festival of Trees ‘takes a whole family’

December 6, 2012

More than 1,000 volunteers decorated trees, set up hallways and entertained and guided visitors through the 24th annual Calvert Hospice Festival of Trees the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Individuals, businesses and organizations sponsored one or more trees. On Nov. 24, teams of decorators converged on Huntingtown High School to adorn 60 trees with ornaments, stockings, garland and glitter.

Visitors at the festival also strolled among 70 vendors, buying crafts, art and other merchandise.

The Festival of Trees benefits Calvert Hospice and the Burnett-Calvert Hospice House in Prince Frederick, which cares for people in the final days of terminal illnesses and assists their family members.

“It takes a whole family to pull this off,” said Jeanne Coonan, who has participated in the festival in some capacity for about 20 years and who chaired this year’s festival.

Karen Dellinger, who helped decorate the “Spree Tree” with hand-embellished stockings, said she and her fellow decorators began working on a theme for the tree in October.

“Then, we got to work quick,” she said. She worked on the stockings for four to six hours a day for about six weeks.

Her husband, Fred Dellinger, joked that he had to pull her away from crafting a couple of times.

Linda Gottfried, director of development for Calvert Hospice, said the Spree Tree was raffled off with its accompanying $3,400 worth of merchandise.

Donations from about 15 local businesses, including Chesapeake Hills Golf Course, Saphron restaurant, Carmen’s Gallery, Scalped, Nick’s of Calvert, Mama Lucia’s, CalvART Gallery and Bay Fish, went toward the Spree Tree.

The Heavenly Angels Tree, decorated by Jan Messick-Hobbs and Molly Jacob in memory of their mothers, was covered in angels wearing pink dresses.

Messick-Hobbs said she has decorated a tree for two years in memory of her mother, Phyllis “Nana” Linkins.

This year, her business, Tax and Accounting Services, sponsored the tree, and she and Jacob decorated it.

“I had to kind of teach myself,” Jacob said of crocheting 72 pink hearts in about a week and a half and 20 snowflakes during the course of three weeks.

Sisters Edith Sullivan, Mary DeNardo and Belinda Saverino decorated “The Gift that Changed the World” tree in memory of their parents, Nick and Claire Scaldaferri, and DeNardo’s husband, Ralph.

“Mom was under the care of hospice. That inspired us” to begin decorating trees 11 years ago, Sullivan said.

DeNardo said they’ve had a different theme each year, including reindeer, candy, birds and a farm.

“We love it. It’s a good cause,” DeNardo said.

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