Locals reminisce about Festival of Trees tradition as it continues in new way

Memorial%27s+Festival+of+Trees+draws+a+festive+crowd+in+December+2019.

Memorial’s Festival of Trees draws a festive crowd in December 2019.

Addison Keeley, Lamp writer

Memorial Medical Center’s popular Festival of Trees will take place virtually this year, so like the gingerbread man- catch it if you can.

Even though this cherished local event is going to have to eliminate almost all in-person contact due to new COVID-19 guidelines, people will still be able to participate in a number of activities online. Online attendees will be able to order Festival of Trees merchandise, post crafts in order for a chance to win a box of their locally famous gingerbread cookies and even view and vote for their favorite Christmas trees and wreaths The only in-person activity is the opportunity for people to pick up souvenir potholder kits. They also ask people to post photos of themselves around town with (flat) Santa for another chance to win a box of gingerbread cookies.

To participate in activities,go to Memorial Medical Center Foundation’s Festival of Trees site.

Despite several activities being made available for whoever wishes to participate in them, a plethora of people who attended the Festival of Trees regularly throughout the years have noted several aspects about it that they will miss about attending it in person.

“Getting to do a special outing with granddaughter. Love watching her face looking at the different trees.” says Kate McAtee.

The Festival of Trees is a Springfield area tradition for many families, but it will be an online event this year because of COVID-19.

Even with COVID-19 guidelines restricting and even erasing time with certain family members and friends for some, the online virtual activities can still provide people with this type of nostalgia.

“I’ll miss the comradeship, the togetherness, the holiday spirit it brings,” commented Cassandra Nelson

In a time like this where togetherness is truly limited, one may find it hard to not miss that aspect from the festival or in general.  

Joann Wise said: “When you aren’t in the Christmas spirit, you can go to the Festival of Trees, and it makes it seem more like the Christmas spirit.”

For Wise and all of the other people that may have this mindset, this sounds like doom. If one relies on the festival to invoke the feeling of Christmas spirit, then it seems as if they my have a hard time feeling it at all this year.  

People said they will miss most the chance to stoke Christmas spirit, but they hope that by next year the world is back to how it used to be — including the Springfield tradition of Festival of Trees.