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Annual Festival of Trees goes virtual for 2020


I suspect our 2020 hindsight will be something along the lines of “well, that was different.”

Everything is abnormal this year: our elections, our health concerns, our work situation, our access to toilet paper. Our community events are most definitely different than any other year in modern history.

Community Connections’ Festival of Trees is no exception. The 17th annual Festival of Trees, a holiday tradition benefiting kids and adults with disabilities, will be held Dec. 4 to Dec. 6 as planned. It will just look a little different this year.

Because of the level spread of COVID-19 in our communities, we are planning a Festival of Trees you can enjoy from the safety of your own home. Our local businesses and families are busily transforming the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Grange Hall into a winter wonderland for your virtual viewing pleasure at https://CCIFOT.givesmart.com.

Even more exciting, our Cortez community has joined the festivities with a Festival of Wreaths that will light up Main Street the first part of December. Local businesses and families are sponsoring and decorating wreaths that will hang in businesses. Find a sunny day or bundle up and walk downtown to see the creative and festive display.

There will still be a wide variety of ways that you can participate this year:

Visit https://CCIFOT.givesmart.com to view all the wreaths and trees from both communities and bid to win a wreath or tree decorations and gifts.Take a virtual tour of the Grange in Durango and Main Street in Cortez. Let us be your proxy to experience the trees and wreaths in their three-dimensional glory.Buy a chance to win a raffle prize including lodging, dining and outdoor adventure vacation packages in Pagosa Springs, Silverton, Cortez or Durango. Or if you don’t want to leave home, you might like the essentials package with hardware, groceries, cleaning and gas gift cards.Join us online to learn more about Community Connections, our stories and impact.Register for the event to receive notices about special guests and activities throughout the weekend, starting at noon Dec. 4 and ending at 5 p.m. Dec. 6.Ride the Polar Express and get an in-person glimpse of the Festival of Trees.Proceeds for the Festivals of Trees and Wreaths will benefit Community Connections’ efforts to improve inclusion for people with disabilities and create communities where all can experience a sense of belonging.

We couldn’t do any of this without our sponsors, particularly our presenting sponsor Alpine Bank and platinum sponsor Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. And, of course, it won’t be the Festival of Trees without you! Local businesses and nonprofits need your support, encouragement and investment now more than ever.

We hope to “see” you online at https://CCIFOT.givesmart.com. Register now for updates.

Tara Kiene is president/CEO of Community Connections Inc.