BY ANGELJEAN CHIARAMIDA
---- — Salisbury marks the wonder of the Christmas tree this weekend with its first Sea Festival of Trees.
The money raised will be divided equally and donated to two nonprofit organizations: Anna Jaques Hospital and the Salisbury Beach Partnership.
The celebration is hosted by Salisbury Beach’s Blue Ocean Music Hall and sponsored by Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank.
“This is going to be such fun, and we’re very excited about it,” said Jan Morse, president and CEO of Newburyport Five. “We got involved because this will help two very worthy organizations. Last I heard, they had more than 85 trees and were hoping for 100, which is just terrific given that it’s the first year. We have all our staff working on decorating our tree.”
All of the 6- to 10-foot-tall decorated trees are donated by businesses, organizations, student groups and families in the region.
Not even state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives could resist. Her office has been busy not only decorating a tree for the event but hand-making all the ornaments that reflect the tree’s theme: “Made in Massachusetts.”
O’Connor Ives has personally crafted ornaments depicting state cranberry bogs, her region’s history as a shoe manufacturer and where the NECCO wafer was born.
“And we have one of Salisbury Beach, from a picture I took myself,” O’Connor Ives said. “This has just been such a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see all the trees.”
Other trees include one with a snowman theme from the Institution for Savings, while Angels Home Health Care went with a pink, white and silver motif that includes a band of, what else, angels.
Amesbury Sports Park’s tree offers a sledding and tubing format, and Priority Capital is promising a money tree. The Artist Bar’s holiday evergreen will have small, original paintings as ornaments, and Beach Rose RV Park’s tree will sport a nautical feel with shell decorations.
Attendees can see all the trees at the two-day public viewing for an admission charge of $5 per person. They can also purchase raffle tickets while there for the opportunity to win a tree and take it home. The public viewing takes place tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the raffle drawing is Sunday at 5 p.m.
Throughout these two days, there will be steady string of entertainment taking place on the Blue Ocean stage. Local talent will be showcased and includes singers, dancers and bands.
Along with the display of decorated trees and stage performances, sumptuous sights will include a Salisbury-themed gingerbread diorama and a holiday train display.
And no winter holiday festival is complete without an appearance from Santa Claus, who is scheduled to arrive on Saturday at 11 a.m., personally escorted to the venue by his friends at the Salisbury Fire Department.
Tonight, there will be a separately ticketed Grand Tree Lighting Spectacular, with a suggested donation of $10 per person paid in advance. The event includes a countdown to the official tree lighting, desserts, music and dancing. Space is limited, and an RSVP is required to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
What: Sea Festival of Trees
When: Tomorrow, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Blue Ocean Music Hall, 4 Oceanfront North, Salisbury Beach
Cost: Public viewing admission is $5 for adults, free for children under 2 and senior citizens
Proceeds will benefit Anna Jaques Hospital and the Salisbury Beach Partnership.
Complete schedule of events: www.blueoceanhall.com/seafestival-of-trees/about-the-festival.html
More information: 978-462-5888