FEATURE: Festival of Trees

Local groups in the community give back to the community by decorating holiday items at Festival of Trees

Maura Langland and Allison Mayhew


This year was the 35th Festival of Trees, an annual tradition in Lawrence that raises money for the O’Connell Youth Shelter here in town. The festival lets local communities and groups put together homemade trees, wreaths and quilts to be bade on. 

The event is held downtown at Liberty Hall and accepts a suggested five dollar donation at the entrance. It features two walls of wreaths leading into the trees, rows of trees before the stage, and more on the stage where Santa waits for pictures. 

School groups such as the Theater Department, Kiwanis Empowering Youth [KEY] club, and Interpersonal skills [IPS] decorated trees for the festival this year. 

“We worked on bringing the tree to life,” KEY club co-president Lady Ortega-Perez said. “I was really satisfied with the outcome.”

According to junior theater student Clara Beyer, transporting the tree from the school to downtown was difficult, but the experience of the festival was worth it. Theater has participated in the festival in previous years, but this year they had a specific goal in mind.

“We wanted more community outreach,” Beyer said. “[and to] make ourselves more known.” 

For Patricia Mayhew, the Festival of Trees isn’t just a one time activity, it’s an annual tradition. Mayhew has been to the event for the past 15 years. 

“It’s always beautiful and I enjoy the creativity,” Mayhew said. “It’s a great way to bring the community together.”