News Local

Festival of Trees a gift that keeps on giving

By Mandy Martin, For Northumberland Today


It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

The first alert is the aroma of real Christmas trees wafting down the entryways. Then, as you step into the hall filled with 27 sparkling, decorated trees, the magic happens.

For the seventh year, teacher Chad Morford and wife Lorraine have coordinated the Festival of Trees in Colborne. There’s no admission fee to view the spectacle the last Friday and Saturday of November. Proceeds are realized from the sale of raffle tickets on the trees plus a silent auction of donated items.

The event funds the entire music program at the Colborne Public School. That’s notable in and of itself but it’s not the big story. This tiny school has consistently produced championship drum lines, a cadre of precision marching and drumming kids who blow their competition (including private, well-funded schools, large urban schools, etc.). Provincial and national titles for the Colborne kids stem from this challenge championed by Mr. Morford.

“We have graduates, about 20, who continue to take instruction Thursday nights at East Northumberland Secondary School,” he notes with considerable pride. “They pay $200 a year. I’m director and write the music for marching and Michael Beauclerc from Peterborough, a Yamaha artist, provides instruction.”

Each of the past seven years, the Festival of Trees has grown in reputation. It’s now a Yuletime tradition in the community to visit the display. The Colborne Legion hosts the event. Businesses, groups and organizations pay to sponsor and decorate trees. Some are up for silent auction, others available from selecting deposited purchased ballots. The annual Colborne/Cramahe Santa Claus Parade, held the Saturday evening, dovetails with the exhibit, welcoming parade participants and attendees to drop in before and after.