The 2008 holiday season will be jump-started by Lewiston’s Kora Shrine Temple’s 3rd Annual FEZtival of Trees – bigger, better and more fun than ever. Named for the distinctive headgear by which Shriners are identified all around the world, the FEZtival has quickly become a seasonal highlight in the L-A area.

Once again, the atmosphere inside the century-old temple at the corner of Sabattus and Main streets in Lewiston will be redolent with the sights, smells and sounds of the holidays. More than three dozen specially decorated Christmas trees will be on display in the temple’s great Ceremonial Hall for two weeks – 40% more than last year – sponsored by individuals and businesses as part of the fundraising event in support of the local temple, its fraternity and good works.

In addition to a chance to get an early start on the holiday spirit, and perhaps win a tree for your own home, the FEZtival provides a rare opportunity for the general public to visit the iconic temple that has dominated Lewiston’s downtown for nearly 100 years. Among the oldest and most ornate facilities still in use anywhere in the U.S. network of Shriners’ organizations, the building itself has been shrouded in mystery for much of its history here. A frequent destination for Shriners and Masons visiting from all over the world, the Temple will be open to the public only during FEZtival hours:

Saturday, November 22 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Sunday, November 23 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Monday, November 24 4 p.m.-8 p.m.

Tuesday, November 25 (closed to the public)

Chamber Business After Hours, catered by DaVinci’s

(Closed for Thanksgiving,

Wednesday-Thursday, November 26-27)

Friday, November 28 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Saturday, November 29 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Admission to the temple and the FEZtival is just $2 for adults and children under 12 are free), and tickets for the tree raffle are five for $10. You can enter to win an individual tree five times, five different trees, once each, or anything in between. There are other raffles, live entertainment, a silent auction, plenty of food, and a craft fair. Kids can visit with Santa, too.

Kora Shrine spokesman, Tim Luttrell, an organizer of all three FEZtivals, said, “We exceeded all our expectations last year, and early interest in the 2008 event is even more enthusiastic. Shrine temples in lots of other communities host FEZtivals, too, and ours is quickly growing into one of the most successful – and certainly one of the most fun!”

While income from admissions and raffles are used for maintenance of this unique meeting place, proceeds from craft sales accrue to the participating crafters. One example is the Helping Hands of York County, an organization of women whose purpose is to help Maine parents with living expenses while their child is receiving treatment at Shriners Hospitals for Children, the overarching charity founded and supported by the Shrine organization.

Known for its special combination of family-oriented fun and philanthropy, the Kora Shrine has created the FEZtival as a way to celebrate the season. All are welcome for this limited time opportunity to see beyond the walls.

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