Kick off the Holidays early and Kickoff the Holidays Early and Make a Difference at the Annual Festival of Trees. The Arc Tampa Bay Foundation holds its signature fundraiser the 35th annual Festival of Trees November 22-24 at The Long Center, 1501 N. Belcher Road in Clearwater.
The benefit, presented by AmeriLife, offers visitors the opportunity to experience the joy and sparkle of the holidays by strolling through a large array of hundreds of community-decorated trees and wreaths on display. Everything on display has been decorated by local business, artists and community leaders and will be available for purchase, with proceeds going to The Arc Tampa Bay Foundation.
Madison Orr-Hauenstein (Right), the Foundation’s executive director, says the evening’s presenting sponsor Amerilife has been a tremendous supporter of the Foundation’s mission. Festival of Trees is just one more way the company demonstrates that. “Amerilife has been such a huge corporate sponsor and supporter for us. Beyond the financial support that they give us, they’ve become experts in their field and generously shared their employees’ time with us to help us become better, particularly with Festival of Trees,” she says. “They are a fantastic community partner.”
The evening will include live music and entertainment, a
visit from Santa Claus and an opportunity to get early holiday shopping done
with plenty of vendor booths onsite to browse for potential presents. The
Children’s Village will be open once again to give kids a fun place to explore
with arts and crafts activities, face painting and storytelling.
The Foundation also hosts ALL STARS night from 5 p.m. to 8
p.m. on Saturday, November 23, an evening specially designed for those taking
part in The Arc Tampa Bay’s programs and others in the community with intellectual
and developmental disabilities. Guests will enjoy food, dancing and a DJ-led
night of music.
Hours for this year’s Festival of Trees festivities are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission for the fundraiser is $5, with children ages 5 and younger, free. Proceeds from the event directly benefit the children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that The Arc Tampa Bay serves through its various programs.
The Foundation supports The Arc Tampa Bay’s three core areas of service in the Bay area: its daytime learning programs, residential programs and job-seeking preparation and support for the population it serves. On a monthly basis, the nonprofit provides innovative and rehabilitative programs to over 1,800 individuals facing intellectual and developmental disabilities and resources for the families, guardians and caregivers that look out for their well-being.
“We want to be a full support organization for the families, guardians and caregivers who are taking care of these individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Orr-Hauenstein says. “Our advocacy is strong especially when you look at it on a state level, the advocacy that we do for this population is significant and necessary when you talk about the services that are needed.”
by Chris Kuhn photos courtesy of The Arc Tampa Bay Foundation
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