Festival of Trees lights up Exeter
Samantha Johnson, 5, of Haverhill, Mass., enjoyed the butterfly ornaments on a tree at the 15th annual Festival of Trees in Exeter on Thursday. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
Suprock is a mother for the first time this Christmas and brought her 10-month-old son, Benjamin, along for the experience in his stroller.
"This is his first time looking at the trees and he's very enthralled," she said.
The festival is held as part of the official start of the holiday season in downtown Exeter and was followed by the 27th Annual Holiday Open House hosted by the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday night.
The Festival of Trees has raised more than $250,000 since it began to benefit the Chamber Children's Fund, a charity that provides warm clothing to families with children in need in Brentwood, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Kensington, Kingston, Newfields, Newmarket, Raymond and Stratham.
Dan Jackson of Arjay's Ace Hardware in Exeter donated the trees and the tree stands were donated by Jack-Post Corp.
"It was a breeze this year. It's our 15th year and people know the routine," said Jan Russell, festival organizer.
Samantha's favorite tree was one decorated by Fairfield Inn & Suites that featured light-up butterflies.
She admired the trees but had no plans to place a bid on them this year.
"I just got a tree so I'm just looking, but I would have bid on that one for sure," she said, pointing to the butterfly tree.
"It feels like the season has now started," she said.
Maloney said it's always nice to see people bidding on the trees even when times are tough.
The spirit of the season will continue Saturday when the town's annual holiday parade will be held. The parade steps off from the Osram/Sylvania parking lot on Portsmouth Avenue at 5:30 p.m. and passes through downtown.
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