LEWISTON — Imagine waking up on Christmas morning to a tree stocked with dozens of Lego sets, a cordless drill for dad or a slow cooker for mom — without spending a cent.

A few lucky winners buying tickets at the annual Feztival of Trees  could see their Christmas dreams come true. 

A festive crowd wove through the third floor of the Kora Shrine Temple on Main Street on Saturday evening, scanning an array of Chrismas trees lit up in silver, green, red and gold, depositing raffle tickets into plastic candy cane poles standing next to their desired trees. 

“I’m 72 years old, lived in Lisbon until I was 18,” said Bonnie Fallon, now living in Massachusetts, “and I’ve never been here — I’ve never been in the area when this happens. I was tickled pink to be able to come for the first time.”

Fallon said she was gobsmacked by the visual show of the trees and the general festivity of the Shrine, a historic building transformed into a Christmas wonderland.

“I’ve never been inside this building. It holds such mystique,” she said. “How could it not put you in the Christmas spirit?”

Fallon said she coveted a particular tree.

“I really need all the ‘Star Wars’ Legos for my grandson, it’s my favorite tree,” she said. 

Bernie McAllister, a Shriner and an organizer of the event, said companies, individuals and organizations donated 59 trees, each pinned up with goodies. Some are valued at more than $4,000.

“People here come and buy raffle tickets,” McAllister said. “If they win, they win the tree and everything on it and under it.”   

“There’s some pretty big stuff attached to some of them,” he said. “We really don’t strive to get valuable trees. Our real strive is to have a beautiful event where people can come and have some fun, take a look at the beautifully lit trees in a building that is almost a hundred years old.”

McAllister said the money raised during the weeklong festival will go toward keeping the space operating and warm.

“It takes a lot to keep this building up,” he said. “This is a four-story building. It’s a lot to heat and a lot to maintain. The money here goes to support this building.” 

“The turnout has been just about what we expected,” he said. “We’re expecting there to be somewhere in the vicinity of 30,000 people coming through here in the next week.” 

The first floor of the Shrine hosted about 20 vendors selling jewelry, goat cheese, festive linens, handmade ornaments and fudge. A food court sold pizza, popcorn, pretzels, cocoa and coffee.

On the third floor, in addition to the rows of trees, is a raffle room and a stage behind the tree display where children can be photographed with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Raffle tickets and tree lottery tickets are five for $10, and there is a $2 admission charge.

 

 

 

 

 

The Feztival of Trees at the Kora Shrine Temple in Lewiston will be open to the public from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; closed on Thanksgiving. On Friday, it will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the final Saturday. 

Sigrid Hogate, 2, and her father, Isaac, of Farmington, look at the decorated trees on display at the annual Feztival of Trees at the Kora Shrine Temple in Lewiston on Saturday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

People wander around the grand ballroom at the annual Feztival of Trees at the Kora Shrine Temple in Lewiston on Saturday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

People wander around the grand ballroom at the annual Feztival of Trees at the Kora Shrine Temple in Lewiston on Saturday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Elsa Hogate, 5, of Farmington, looks up at the decorated trees on display at the annual Feztival of Trees at the Kora Shrine Temple in Lewiston on Saturday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)


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