Marlborough annual Festival of Trees to be drive-through due to COVID

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Jeff Malachowski
| MetroWest Daily News

MARLBOROUGH – One of the city’s most popular holiday traditions will go forward this year, but with a slight twist.

Brightly decorated Christmas trees will line the parking lot of the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest’s Marlborough clubhouse next month, as the organization will hold its annual Festival of Trees. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic this year, the festival will be held in a drive-through style to ensure attendees can safely view all of the creatively decorated trees.

“Of course we’re taking all the precautions because of COVID-19,” said Gina Gentile, development and outreach coordinator.

Area businesses and families are decorating the trees in various themes to be displayed at the Dec. 5 event. Gentile said many businesses have been very creative with their decorations in past years. She anticipates upwards of 50 trees will be showcased during the festival.

“It’ll definitely be a surprise when we get them,” Gentile said of the decorated trees.

Gentile said the club’s parking lot was recently repaved and will be a safe location for the festival.

Attendees will have an opportunity to vote for their favorites and enter a raffle to take home a tree.

The Marlborough Historical Society created and oversaw the Festival of Trees for eight years before canceling the festival in 2016 due to a lack of volunteers. Paragon Shows and the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest teamed up to revive the popular festival in 2017, but had to cancel it in 2018 due to a scheduling conflict. The festival returned last year.

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Bob Kane, vice president of the Marlborough Historical Society, got the idea to hold the festival after attending a conference in Washington D.C. several years ago and attending a similar festival complete with decorated trees and holiday activities.

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At its beginning, the festival featured 15 to 30 trees decorated and displayed at the 1688 Peter Rice Homestead. Over the years, the number of trees grew steadily, prompting the festival to be moved to the Best Western Royal Plaza Trade Center.

Organizations, from large companies to churches, and individuals have participated in previous years. The festival has attracted between 5,000 and 7,000 people from across New England.

Spreading holiday cheer – particularly during the ongoing pandemic – is a high priority for the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest and they hope the event will bring a smile to the faces of children and adults across the region.

“It was really important to keep the tradition going,” said Gentile.

The festival will be held Saturday, Dec. 5 from 2-6 p.m. in the parking lot of the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest’ Marlborough clubhouse on Pleasant Street. Businesses or residents interested in decorating a tree can visit to fill out an application or call the club at 508-485-4912.

Jeff Malachowski can be reached at 508-490-7466 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JmalachowskiMW.



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