Trees for UPARC

Festival of Trees

For the past 22 years, a group of local artists, businesses and community leaders volunteer to design and decorate trees while other participants — children and adults alike — are invited to assemble and adorn gingerbread houses, stores, churches, schools and other edifices for a gingerbread village. These festive creations are sold during the Festival of Trees, an annual holiday event held in Clearwater to support the programs and services offered by the Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens (UPARC).

Aside from wandering Gingerbread Lane and checking out the more than 100 extravagantly ornamented trees, attendees can purchase handmade crafts as well as one-of-a-kind wreaths, centerpieces and holiday decorations at Sugar Plum Shoppe (with 30 percent of proceeds benefiting UPARC), get their pictures taken with Santa and marvel at the train and animated window display. The Friday Night Extravaganza features a cash bar, live music and some special holiday surprises amid a nightclub atmosphere; on Saturday morning, families enjoy a $10-per-person breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a post-breakfast festival romp.

Festival of Trees, 2-8 p.m. Thu., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri. (7-9 p.m. extravaganza), 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat. (9-10:30 a.m. breakfast), noon-5 p.m. Sun., through Nov. 26, Harborview Center, 300 Cleveland St., Clearwater, $6 general admission adults/$5 seniors/$4 ages 3-16 (children 2 and younger enter for free), 727-797-8712, treefest.com.

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