14th annual Festival of Trees helps kickoff holiday season

A young boy and his grandmother peek at the ornaments that were carefully hung on one of the trees. — Nicole Zappone photo

It was the weekend before Thanksgiving, and all through Wesley Heights, the holiday spirit could be found. Many trees and wreaths were decorated in the Christmas spirit, and the laughter of children could be heard from the bake sale tables.

On Nov. 18 and 19, the 14th annual TEAM Inc. Festival of Trees attracted many families and neighbors looking to participate in an annual tradition.

“This is my fourth year coming here with my children, and each year, I let them pick out something special,” said Jodie Fravier of Wesley Heights.

The hallways were filled with tables of jewelry, handmade goods and other items for sale. From the dining hall, the Belltones Bells from Newington could be heard ringing their bells with festive tunes.

The Festival of Trees, hosted by Wesley Village and TEAM Inc., was designed to be a way for tenants and their families to get into the holiday spirit.

Throughout the building there were more than 40 trees and wreaths for residents to choose from. The trees and wreaths were donated by RJS Designs LLC, TEAM’s board of directors, and Newtown Savings Bank, among other organizations.

There were also raffles for several gift baskets filled with goodies. This was the largest number of gift baskets to be raffled off, according to TEAM volunteer Roger Spinelli.

Donations of baskets came from TEAM Inc., Bad Son’s Beer Co., Center Stage Theater, and others.

Proceeds from the event went toward TEAM’s Volunteer Caregivers program that links volunteers with elderly residents in the lower Naugatuck Valley.

“Next year will be special, because it will be our 15th anniversary, and we are certainly looking forward to it,” said Spinelli.

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