The first Antrim Festival of Trees kicked off with a packed Open House the first weekend in December and included musical entertainment by Ray Sweeney, a children’s story-time presented by local author Dick Winslow, a themed scavenger hunt, seasonal goodies and refreshments and voting for favorite trees in a variety of categories. Ribbons and certificates were awarded to the top vote getters in categories such as Best Tree Top, Funniest and Best Theme. The original committee consisted of Antrim residents Thelma Nichols, Connie Vandevort and Missy Taylor, and numerous supporters and volunteers supplied countless hours of help, covering everything from baking to greeting to decorating. The staff of the Library pitched in with gusto and the trustees of the Library rendered invaluable support.
The overwhelming community response from the first festival led to the second in 2011. With the addition of Kristy Boule and Gerry McGlory to the committee, the Festival grew to include a category for decorated wreaths as well as a quilt raffle and an Evening of Lights Gala to raise funds to help cover the Festival’s modest expenses. The wonderful evening event included seasonal musical entertainment by Antrim’s own veterinarian Tom Dowling, special savory and sweet refreshments, a holiday punch bowl and a silent auction with items donated by community members and businesses. It proved to be a delightful evening that started off the holiday season, giving community members the chance to visit with each other before the crush of the holidays began and to see all the trees, wreaths and displays exhibited in their sparkling glory. The Open House the following day was once again a great success. Visitors enjoyed musical entertainment by Dean Proctor, a children’s story-time featuring an original work by Dick Winslow, read by Peter Moore, a children’s scavenger hunt, refreshments and voting for favorites among the more than 70 displays. Allen Chiropractic, Antrim Wind Energy and Great Brook Veterinary Clinic generously provided financial sponsorship of the Festival.
2012 brought a record number of trees and displays to the festival as well as statewide recognition. The Festival was showcased in a segment on WMUR’s New Hampshire Chronicle and Fritz Wetherbee himself visited our Evening Of Lights Gala where he presented the Tuttle Library with a copy of his latest book. Other publicity of note included write-ups in statewide newspapers including The Manchester Union Leader and the HIPPO Press.