“The positive effect of creativity on pandemic stress cannot be over-emphasized!” enthused Ellen Krajewski, who worked with others to create the Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra’s tree, ‘Tools of the Trade,’ for the 12th annual Festival of Trees at Eastport Arts Center, held with great success on December 11, 2021. “All the people contributing to the project and the fun we had creating the tree were terrific outcomes!”

Catherine Lee, who created ‘Lighting the Lanterns,’ was another pleased with the event: “This year was probably the most excited I’ve been about the EAC Festival of Trees since the first year I participated, back in 2014. After not having a festival last winter, once again designing and crafting ornaments was so hopeful and enjoyable. It felt like a step back down the road to normalcy. The most fun is always decorating night, visiting with the other makers and seeing their unique and wonderful designs, and the event itself with the trees all lit and decorated and money being raised for such a worthy institution.”

“As organizer of this event for 12 years,” noted Marged Higginson, “I have always thought of it as much a community building event as a fundraiser. The Arts Center has benefited over the years from the involvement of  Girl Scouts to serve, young string players to entertain, other talented community members to play, different emcees, schools to collect #10 cans, lumber jack elves, clubs and other non-profits working as groups to create trees, the EAC constituency groups following the theme of their constituency. From decorating to gathering and set-up and break-down, many are needed and much appreciated.”

Both Higginson and Cynthia Morse, a fellow EAC Board member, praised the decorator-artists. “It was wonderful and inspiring to see the creativity that goes into the trees,” said Morse. “Designers put their hearts and souls into making their trees look unique and beautiful. As usual they outdid themselves. I enjoyed seeing people there that I have missed seeing over they past few months. It was like being back to the good old days!”

The event strove to bring community members together with an eye to current safety protocols. “This year it was a challenge to keep people safe,” noted Higginson. “The design was made to have one-way traffic and slightly fewer trees to prevent crowding. Snacks were sent home with folks rather than eaten on the premises. There has been appreciation expressed by a number of people that their safety was paramount. 99% of the public graciously complied with the desire for mutual safety of their fellow Festival attendees. For that we applaud and thank you.” 

“The desire to get the Festival back in person was an itch that had to be scratched. Without the cooperation of the public who clamor for the festival, both eager decorators and equally eager bidders, we would not have been able to offer the Festival during the pandemic.”