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Bella Huwe decorates a giant cookie at the kick off of the annual Tree Festival in New York Mills. Photo by Christopher Michalski.

Tree Festival brings holiday spirit and cheer to NY Mills

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local Perham, 56573
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

More than 30 wreaths and Christmas trees illuminated the City Hall Ballroom for the opening of the 13th Annual Tree Festival on Nov. 26.

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Students from the New York Mills elementary school decorated the ballroom with handmade snowflakes and hung them from the ceiling.

A "Candy Land" display adorned the stage at the rear of the ballroom, courtesy of the NY Mills high school art class.

"They did a wonderful job with the stage," said co-organizer Jodi Wegscheid. "We have lots of talented students at both the elementary and high schools."

Those who continue to visit the ballroom during the remainder of the festival will receive a token at the door to vote on their favorite displays.

A majority of the trees and displays are up for silent auction. Gifts underneath and adorning the trees will be donated to Santa Anonymous, according to co-organizer Dolly Tumberg.

"A lot of people said this was more people than they had ever seen on the opening of the festival," Wegscheid said.

A raffle will be held for a quilt and pillow set donated by the 4-H Chapter of NY Mills. Tickets can be purchased upon entrance to the festival for a dollar.

Winners of the quilt, silent auction and the top three winners for the displays will be announced at 10 p.m. on Dec. 4. Bidding, voting and raffle ticket purchasing ends at 8 p.m.

Sweets and treats

The Bake Shoppe of NY Mills sponsored cookie decorating activities for children.

"A lot of the kids came for cookie decorating and look forward to it every year," Wegscheid said.

The Bake Shoppe of NY Mills sponsored the cookie decorating activities for children. Young ladies from the NY Mills Pageantry helped bring cookies, frosting and sprinkles to children.

NY Mills royalty members Hannah Barthel and Marrissa Witt joined in the fun while older members helped younger children.

"It's nice seeing everybody after Thanksgiving getting out and being social in the community," said Miss New York Mills Taylor Geiser.

"We have a great community. Everyone involved is very supportive and they like to help out a lot," she said.

Dan and Heather Huwe of Grand Rapids came home for the holidays with their daughter Bella, who busied herself making a beautiful snowman cookie.

"It's nice to be here having a good time and seeing Bella having so much fun," Heather said.

Family Day

Santa brought plenty of presents to children on Family Day during the festival, held on Nov. 28.

There were enough prizes and gifts for every child who came through the door, Tumberg said.

"It was perfect that this worked out for everyone," she said.

Children received board games, stuffed animals, sleds and other gifts donated by members of the community.

Broden Benson and twins Cale and Jace Rudolph won a drawing for two boys' bicycles. Two girls, who were not present during the drawing, will be contacted to receive their prizes.

Betty and Dennis Swenson of M.D. Swenson Trucking donated the bicycles.

Joining the fun

Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) held its biggest fundraiser of the year during the kickoff. Items from its tree will be donated to Santa Anonymous.

"It's a great fundraiser for us. We love seeing all of the people come," said Audrey Koehn, leader of TOPS. "It's prettier here in the ballroom with the snowflakes that the kids made."

"They did a beautiful job decorating up here this year," she said.

Joining them was the Senior Arts and Crafts Center that brought handmade crafts, wreaths, holiday cards and other items up for sale.

Carol Derby of the Senior Arts and Crafts Center thanked the students of NY Mills for bringing boxes of crafts up to the ballroom.

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