Fort Kent Festival of Trees fundraiser exceeds expectations
FORT KENT, Maine — The first Fort Kent Festival of Trees sponsored by the Fort Kent Lions Club was more successful than organizers imagined.
Held during the weekend of Dec. 18-19, the Festival of Trees proved so popular that on Sunday Lions Club President Kris Malmborg found himself scrambling for additional rolls of raffle tickets to sell during the fundraiser.
“Our expectations of what to expect were blown out of the water. The support from the business owners and the community members throughout The County was humbling,” Malmborg said.
“We saw people drive from as far as Houlton in order to attend our event. We sold over 24000 tickets, which was not anticipated since this was a small, first-year event,” he said.
Jonathan and Sarah Mulcahy of Fort Kent brought their two young children, Olivia and Isaiah, to the Festival of Trees on Saturday morning.
Four-year-old Isaiah knew exactly which tree he hoped the family would win.
“Can I have a chainsaw?” he asked his parents, while pointing to a new chainsaw under a tree sponsored by Irving Woodlands.
Local businesses and organizations donated 20 trees adorned with decorations and gift certificates to grocery stores and restaurants, free heating oil, a season pass to Lonesome Pine Trails ski hill and gate passes to the North Maine Woods. Presents placed underneath the trees ranged from board games and cooking devices to blankets and ski boards.
“They’re all pretty great; every tree has something for everyone,” Jonathan Mulcahy said.
“It’s pretty impressive that all these local businesses came together to support this. For what’s been a crazy year it’s nice to see this,” Sarah Mulcahy said.
Malmborg said money raised from the event will supplement funds the Lions Club would normally get from fundraisers such as the biannual Pride of Lions Show, which has not been able to take place since COVID-19 became a part of everyday life.
The Lions contribute to the community in a variety of ways, including providing a scholarship fund, maintaining the Lion’s Pavilion, and sponsoring the local Boy Scouts troop as well as the Scouts’ annual chicken barbecue. Members also decorate town light poles and the town Christmas tree each year.
“Plans are already in the works to bring Fort Kent Festival of Trees back next year, and our hopes are to make it bigger and better,” Malmborg said.