RUMFORD — Santa and Mrs. Claus visited Rumford Saturday evening to attend the 8th annual Festival of Trees, presented by the Rumford Association for the Advancement of Performing Arts Committee.

The upstairs walls of the Rumford Municipal Building were lined with glistening trees, decorated by area businesses and clubs. Attendees could vote for the best-decorated tree, as well as enter to win a white Christmas tree sporting shining red balls and candy-cane pattern garlands, donated by Franklin Savings Bank.

Jim Rinaldo of RAAPA said anyone can enter the contest, and in past years they have had 18 to 20 entries. This year, however, with only 13 trees entered, “people seem to have backed off,” he said. 

The raffled tree was won by Judy Sanborn, who let out a shout of delight when her number was called.

Evelyn Kenney won the 50/50 raffle, totaling $60. Kenney chose to donate it back to RAAPA, and was applauded for her generosity.

Ink Maine also made a tree with homemade ornaments available to guests for a donation of any amount, with proceeds benefting EnvisionRumford, a community-based initiative supported by the town and the Western Maine Economic Development Council.


Entertainment was provided by the Prop Box singers, directed by Thea Dunn, who also sang a duet with Wendy Youmans. Following the performances was a community sing-along for everyone to participate in. 

“It’s been a really rewarding experience for both my team and myself,” Rinaldo said.

The festival began with the committee asking the Board of Selectmen for $1,000 in start-up money, which it granted. Since then, organizers have raised money each year for the festival through raffles and donations. This year, Northern Liquid & Natural Gas, a new company, donated $250 to the festival, Rinaldo said.

Cookies and hot chocolate were provided by members of the committee, and every child that attended received a present.

“We try to change things up every couple of years so it doesn’t become too routine, but basically it just lasts a couple hours and it’s a great way to get kids out to get a little gift,” Rinaldo said.


Best-Decorated Tree winners

First place: Lithuanian Heritage Club

Second place: Mountain Valley Lyme Disease Awareness Coalition

Third place: Rumford Historical Society, Beacon House Social Club and Peer Center (tie) 

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