BANGOR – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Anah Shrine in Bangor as they open their doors for the eighth annual Feztival of Trees.
“It has become a phenomenon across the country. There’s many places that do it. There are a number of them in the state also,” said Feztival Director Tom Seymour.
“We try to work ours to be the best for the people coming in so I’m a little favorable there to ours,” he said.
This year, Seymour said, the Shriners are expecting more than 16,000 people to visit. The event is a fundraiser for the Shriners and the money raised goes to the organization here in Bangor.
“A lot of people say ‘What do Shriners do?’ We do help children. We do support two hospitals. One in Boston and one in Springfield, Massachusetts,” Seymour said.
“It goes for a good cause so I do it every year,” said Joanne Black, a woman attending the event.
On Thursday, Shriners opened their doors early for people to enjoy and even get their picture taken with Santa
“That’s right,” Santa said. “Come on down.”
The Shriners invited retirement communities, nursing homes and service organizations for those with developmental disabilities to a soft open on Thursday.
Seymour said they tone it down to make a welcoming environment for all to enjoy this Christmas magic.
“Some of them have walkers and wheelchairs and they come through as groups from the homes. It gives them a little bit more time,” Seymour said.
“As you can imagine with that many people coming through during the regular hours it’s crowded. Some people don’t like that,” he said.
Bunny Sinclair said, “I’ve heard from my children it’s wall to wall people on certain days so I’m very happy with this.”
The Feztival will be happening this weekend and next, ending on December 1. Seymour said the first weekend is typically less crowded for people to stop by and try to win a tree.
“This year they’ve all stepped up. We have some impressive trees,” Seymour said.