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Danbury's Festival Of Trees Celebrates Holidays & Lives Of Cancer Patients

From left, Anne Lavelle and Barbara Talerico, who are volunteering at the Festival of Trees this weekend at the Matrix Center in Danbury, to benefit Ann's Place Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox
The "Snow Scout" Christmas tree at Ann's Place Festival of Trees In Danbury is decorated in honor of Riley from Boy Scout Pack 44 who is battling cancer Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox
Cheer Travel with Beers Christmas tree decorated in honor of the late Danbury resident and pilot David Wolf, who passed away in 2015 Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox
A decorated tree that will be at the Festival of Trees this weekend in Danbury to benefit Ann's Place. Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox
Some of the more unusual looking Christmas trees that will be on display at the Festival of Trees in Danbury this weekend. Photo Credit: Sandra Diamond Fox

DANBURY, Conn. -- At the Matrix Conference & Banquet Center in Danbury, there's a Christmas tree dubbed “Snow Scout" that's decorated with many hand-painted ornaments.

It was decorated by Boy Scout Pack 44, in honor of Riley, a member of their troop who is battling cancer.

The Snow Scout tree is just one of over 100 trees of all different shapes, sizes and themes that will be on display at the 14th annual Festival of Trees. The festival benefits Ann’s Place in Danbury, which offers support to those with cancer.

"Each tree has a personal touch about a person who has cancer or who has succumbed to it,” said Sue Chabot, the festival’s community chair of trees.

The Festival of Trees will be held Thursday, Nov. 17, through Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Matrix Conference & Banquet Center, 39 Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury.

“When you enter the ballroom and see all the decorated trees, it’s like walking into a magical wonderland,” said Lori Zezza, special events consultant at Ann’s Place. “It kickstarts your holiday season and gets you in the mood.”

The Festival of Trees is Ann’s Place largest fundraiser of the year. In 2015, the event raised $175,000.

On Thursday, to celebrate Ann’s Place's 25th anniversary, there will be a Roaring 20s themed gala "Prohibition Party" from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Additional events throughout the weekend include a Taps & Trees Craft Beer Fest, children’s tea parties, a polar express pajama party and a lego artist challenge.

All the trees on display were decorated and donated by people in the community — and all can be won through a raffle.

Trees are decorated with every kind of material and item imaginable — from hand-knit puppets to paper — and everything in between.

The Boy Scout Troop that made the Snow Scout tree “has supported Ann’s Place for many years and has always decorated a tree. But this year, they made a special tree to recognize one of their own,” Chabot said.

Another tree, called "Cheers Travel with Beers," has 30 cans of beer wrapped around it. It was created in honor of David Wolf, a Danbury man who passed away in 2015 from multiple myeloma.

"He was a pilot and in his world travels, he always collected beers cans," Chabot said.

Ann's Place is a nonprofit agency that offers comfort and support to anyone touched by cancer. All of its services are offered free of charge.

Through its support groups, counseling, wellness programs, art therapy and educational programs, Ann’s Place serves 1,300 clients per month, according to Chabot.

After opening night, the festival will be open Friday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for assisted living facilities and senior centers; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

General admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children and seniors, and free for kids under age 5.

To purchase tickets or for more information on Ann’s Place, click here or call 203-790-6568.

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