Many events have followed a pattern for most of 2020, with cancellations and transitions to virtual celebrations, but if you look around, the spirit of the holidays is still on public display.
Clubs and organizations across Flagler County dug deep into their love for the community and assembled this year’s Festival of Trees at the Warsaw Community Public Library.
Glistening in the soft glow of the miniature bulbs, gold and tinsel proclaim a singular desire for the Live Like Cameron Foundation – a cure for childhood cancer, as the faces of Flagler County’s youngest warriors and angels adorn the tree.
“My reason for having a Live Like Cameron tree at the library is to bring awareness to our charity and childhood cancer,” said Melisa Fulling. “I wanted to show Flagler County the faces of children in our county who are battling childhood cancer. For me, this tree represents strength, hope and love.”
Steps away, the handmade decorations resembling sugar cookie flowers proudly display the passion of The Garden Club at Palm Coast members, led by Andrea Rogers and Kelley Callery, while the TAG (Together Achieving Greatness) V. Bear Foundation’s snuggly mini teddy bears are nestled on a branch overlooking the reference section.
“(We do it) partly as a public thank-you to all the people who contribute to our efforts, which is why it’s mostly pictures, and more so to bring awareness that we are interested in helping those in need, which is why we put information the public can take with them at the base of the tree, “said TAG founder Kathy Austrino.
In the Garden Room, the crackle of a fire can be heard as it pipes through the video feed, warming the cozy room and brightening more than a dozen colorfully decorated trees.
Representing the Kiwanis Club of Flagler Palm Coast, the Black and Gold, the Maryland Club of Palm Coast, the Lion’s Club of Palm Coast, German-American Friendship Club of Palm Coast, the Polonia Society of Korona, Christ Lutheran Church and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church to name a few, it’s a sample of the melting pot Flagler County has grown to become, all set to celebrate the holidays.
Library director Holly Albanese said that even though the traditional programming filled with entertainment and refreshments is canceled this year, she hopes patrons will enjoy the displays.
“Last year we had more than 200 people for our evening kickoff event for Festival of Trees. With that in mind we decided to forgo the evening kickoff but to allow any groups that still wanted to put up a tree to do so. The trees bring joy to many and allow them to forget even for a moment any hardships they may have,” Albanese said. “We are definitely in challenging times and even kids are asking if Christmas is canceled. I hope our festival will be a reminder that we all still have reason to celebrate.”
The Festival of Trees will be on display until the end of December. For those seeking the slowest time of day, foot traffic is lightest early morning or Monday and Wednesdays after 6 p.m.