We see the trees through this Fez-tival forest


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“Scent”imental Holiday, Bob & Mary St. Jacques.
“Scent”imental Holiday, Bob & Mary St. Jacques.
The collection of miniature trees.
The collection of miniature trees.
Always Room for Ice Cream, Ilsley’s Ice Cream.
Always Room for Ice Cream, Ilsley’s Ice Cream.
Musical Holiday, Nottingham Underground Music Piano Studio.
Musical Holiday, Nottingham Underground Music Piano Studio.
Mr. Snowman, Cobblestone Design Company.
Mr. Snowman, Cobblestone Design Company.
Tiffany Christmas, Keeler & Haggett Family.
Tiffany Christmas, Keeler & Haggett Family.
Minnie Mouse, Capital Physical Therapy.
Minnie Mouse, Capital Physical Therapy.
Ted’s Teddies, Ted Dooley.
Ted’s Teddies, Ted Dooley.

For the same week each year, the Bektash Shrine Center holds an extravaganza – and not just any kind of extravaganza – a fake Christmas tree extravaganza.

We sure do like saying extravaganza. It just rolls off the tongue nicely.

Unfortunately though, that week was last week, so all of you who are just finding out about the Fez-tival of Trees, we’re sad to say you’re out of luck for 2014. But there’s always next year, because this is a tradition that dates back to the turn of the century, and who is going to pull the plug on something about to hit a significant milestone like 15 years? Especially one that brings out some serious Christmas tree decorating.

It started as a small fundraiser and transformed into quite the community event. And the reason it’s Fez-tival with a Z is because those cool hats the Shriners wear are called Fez.

“They were just trying to figure out a way to raise money,” said Fez-tival chairman Ron Perry, who joined the committee for the second year. “It helps us out a lot.”

So circle Thanksgiving week in your new 2015 calendar, because that’s when the Fez-tival will be making it’s return. And why is it the week of Thanksgiving, you ask? The answer is simple: it’s the one Thursday of the holiday season that the Shriners don’t host bingo, so there’s no need to choose between the two fundraisers. Plus, it would be quite the project to try and move all those trees.

“It’s good to have it the same week every year, so people look forward to coming,” Perry said.

This year, the Shriners outdid themselves once again by bringing in a record 128 full size trees, 20 mini trees and more than a dozen wreaths. The trees are all donated, and the fun part is that each one has its own identity.

“All the trees are donated by businesses, by Shrine units or by people who just want to donate,” Perry said. “And it’s up to them what they want to put in it.”

Some were decorated with candy, Christmas movies and gift cards. One looked like a board game factory exploded, Frozen characters, Elsa, Anna and Olaf made an appearance on a couple different trees, and, as it should be, Boston sports were also well represented.

“I’ve never seen a repeat. It’s always something different,” Perry said.

There was Ted’s Teddies, which took first place for most original, that didn’t actually include a tree, and another that should have been titled, a gambler’s dream, because just about every inch was covered in scratch tickets.

“There are trees that are worth a lot of money,” Perry said.

Musical Holiday won for best theme, and Pretty in Pink took home the top spot for most beautiful – all three of the first place winners got a Shriners clock.

And for just $5, you got 25 tickets to try and win the tree of your choosing – but of course you have to wait until next year because this year’s Fez-tival is sadly over. But please enjoy the pictures we took. It’s almost like being there.

“You win the tree and everything in it,” Perry said.

All the money raised goes to help the Shriners with their many charitable endeavors. It’s also never too early to sign up to donate a tree for next year.

So don’t forget to set that reminder in your phone for next year, and we’ll try to make sure we give you a heads up about all this cool stuff before it happens.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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