The holiday season is upon us. And for the Lewiston-Auburn area it begins at the Kora Shrine Center with the 9th annual FEZtival of Trees!

Visiting the Center is quite an experience on its own, with its verdigris domes and exquisitely carved windows. Once inside, its stunning, wall-to-wall murals leave no doubt as to why it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The FEZtival of Trees began nine years ago as a fundraiser to keep this majestic building in operation in order to continue its work and each year it has surpassed the year before. Starting with 23 trees and 2,500 visitors the first year, it has grown to over 60 trees with more than 20,000 visitors last year.

Past Potentate Barry Gates feels that while the building itself is worth the trip, the trees really make it a rare and matchless event.

“The tree sponsors have outdone themselves year after year, and I’m sure this one will prove to be no exception,” said Gates. “They truly embrace the idea of creating a new and exceptional theme for their tree, making each year a distinctive and unique experience.

“We have some groups that compete against each other to have the most popular tree!” he said. “We are very fortunate to have such support from local businesses, organizations and Shrine Clubs.”


The theme for this year’s FEZtival is “An Enchanted Christmas.” And what better place to get lost in an enchanted forest than at the Kora Shrine Center! Christmas trees, pixies, elves and fairies will transform many of these historical rooms and hallways into a magical dreamland.

For those who like more than just magnificent trees and decor, there will be a silent auction with numerous items to bid on, a 50-50 raffle, the famous Lottery Tree decorated with $500 worth of lottery tickets, and last but not least, Reggie’s Sales and Service has donated an ice auger worth $900 that a lucky winner will receive.

The aroma of popcorn, soups, pizza, baked goods and daily luncheon and dinner specials will lead you straight to the dining hall which will be filled with 28 crafters for any shopper’s pleasure.

Santa will be taking time out from his busy schedule for the entire week to listen to children’s hopes for Christmas and photos with the white-haired wonder will be available as well. The famous Fishing Pond will be open for the season to reel in toys and treats for the little ones.

Daily, live entertainment in the mezzanine, including such talents as Lionel Meservier, Bob Gendreau, and the Lewiston High School Band and Strings will certainly tickle the senses and sounds of the season. While checking out the schedule for your favorite entertainers, please notice special days at the FEZtival such as Senior Day and Chamber Night’s Business After Hours catered by the Kora FEZtival Food Group.

Admission is only $2 — please share with us in this magical occasion guaranteed to get you into the spirit of Christmas while supporting our local Shriners and their great cause.

Let the FEZtival season begin!

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