The week of Thanksgiving is upon us, and that can mean only one thing – not turkey, not Black Friday deals, but the Feztival of Trees.
The Bektash Shrine Center (189 Pembroke Road) is ready to host the Feztival of Trees for the 19th year starting this Saturday, and all the trappings you’ve come to know and love about the Feztival are back again.
Every year on the week surrounding Thanksgiving, the Bektash Shrine Center welcomes 10,000 to 12,000 visitors through the doors to check out a menagerie of extravagantly, cleverly and often hilariously decorated full-size and mini Christmas trees. The trees are all donated by local businesses, families and well-wishers, and they’re all up for grabs.
The Feztival of Trees is essentially a weeklong raffle with a festive flair. Attendees can purchase sheets of raffle tickets for $5 a sheet and walk around dropping tickets into designated receptacles in front of each tree. If there’s a really cool tree – like one full of Red Sox tickets or one full of brand-new power tools – you can pour a whole sheet of tickets into that one if you’d like – there are no limits to how many tickets you can purchase or how many you can drop into each tree’s receptacle (usually PVP piping).
There are usually about 120 full-size trees each year – John Puckhaber, 2019 Potentate and the main organizer of this year’s Feztival, said they had already received more than 100 trees as of last Thursday, and they’ll still accept more right up until the event actually begins on Saturday.
The collection of trees is always extremely diverse, and the themes cover an extremely wide range. For example, in the past there have been beach trees, movie trees, sporting good trees, stuffed animal trees, picnic trees, arts and craft trees, and even a Top Gun tree. While many of these are more novelties than anything else, there are usually a few big-ticket trees, as well.
The Tool Tree is always one of the biggest draws, featuring hundreds of dollars worth of brand-new power and hand tools. This year FW Webb and Osborne’s Agway are also pitching in some high-value trees, and the Shrine Center itself is setting up a big tree too, though the contents of these trees were still under wraps as of last week.
Apart from all the full-size trees, there were also be quite a few mini trees, featuring smaller hauls of prizes, as well as wreaths. The wreaths don’t come with any presents, but they look nice and are great for hanging on your door.
Most of all, though, this is all about family fun. Kids are more than welcome, and in fact it’s mostly for them. Santa Claus will be in the building for pictures each day, and the Candy Cane Café will be open for food and drinks.
The Feztival will run from Saturday, Nov. 23, through Sunday, Dec. 1, every day except Thanksgiving. The hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except for Monday and the final Sunday, when it closes at 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and free for kids 12 and under (group rates are also available). Tickets are $5 for a sheet of 25. Seniors get in free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. For more info, go to bektashshriners.org/ feztival.php.