Wednesday, June 12, 2024
June 12, 2024

Festival of Trees keeps branching out

The 10th annual Salt Spring Island Festival of Trees fundraiser was the most-attended yet, according to organizers, raising more than $6,200 for various local charities. 

And in addition to the usual locals, the now decade-long tradition at the Harbour House Hotel seems to be attracting an increasing number of tourists. The festival this year added new events — Breakfast with Santa, Tastes of the World and Decadent Desserts — alongside the Forest of Miracles islanders remember from last year. Proceeds from the Forest of Miracles went to local organizations, including Copper Kettle and the Greenwoods Eldercare Society. 

“It is a true symbol of community spirit and holiday cheer,” said Harbour House general manager Kelly Armstrong, “uniting local artisans, businesses and volunteers to decorate a dazzling display of Christmas trees.” 

All of the highest bidders for the trees opted to donate them to families that needed a little extra support during the festive season, she said.  

The original Festival of Trees component that sees food bank donations placed under several decorated trees at the hotel also continued, with the Friends of Kenya tree declared the winner this year.

Southern Gulf Islands Tourism Partnership chair Randy Cunningham said the hope was for the Festival of Trees to continue growing as an event to attract tourists and build up the visitor economy during what has traditionally been the off-season. 

“We’re seeing that many visitors are eager to participate in community events,” said Cunningham. “It’s a way to connect the visitor with the place in a genuine way, which helps to create visitation that gives back to our islands socially, culturally and environmentally — not only economically.” 

Armstrong said travel trade polls have shown that travellers are looking for authentic experiences that are the essence of the communities they are visiting.  

“We can see this with the Festival of Trees on Salt Spring, as well as the ‘Tastes of the World’ event,” said Armstrong, noting that raising money for local student athletes’ travel expenses gives visitors an opportunity to have a direct impact on the islanders’ quality of life.

“It also supports Southern Gulf Island businesses and farms,” said Armstrong, “by purchasing their products [for use during the event] during off-peak times.” 

Sign up for our newsletter and stay informed

Receive news headlines every week with our free email newsletter.

Other stories you might like

Plan to fund housing with tourism dollars paused

An agreement to put tourism tax dollars toward housing is on hold for the moment, as Salt Spring’s Local Community Commission (LCC) and the...

Harbour House hosts tree fundraisers and seasonal fun

The Harbour House Hotel is once again the spot to enjoy the Festival of Trees — a long-running fundraiser for the Salt Spring Island...

Island welcomes Hawaiian voyaging vessel

Salt Spring’s deep connection to the Hawaiian Islands was reaffirmed this week as islanders welcomed a very special sailing vessel carrying a timely message...

Christmas on Salt Spring activities bring community together for the holiday season

The Christmas season is well underway on Salt Spring Island, with the island’s Chamber of Commerce helping everyone get into the spirit of the...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here