Holiday Trees event returns to Peterborough

Judges to select best tree in each category

Courtesy photo People get a closer look at one of the themed trees on display at a past Holiday Trees event.

PETERBOROUGH – With the holidays fast approaching, the Peterborough Community Center will host Holiday Trees again this year drawing on participants creativity to display their trees to be judged in a few, new categories added this year.

Holiday Trees offers fun for all ages with unique tree displays showing off the donors’ creativity.

“It’s really special because people walk in the doors and enter a magical world where the rest of world falls away, and you’re in a lovely, cheerful, warm and friendly community experience,” said Lauren Martin, administrative assistant at Peterborough Parks and Recreation. “It’s just a really fun way for everyone to enjoy the holiday season without worrying about money.”

However, in order to participate as a tree donor a commitment of intention must be emailed to by Nov. 17. Also, the application form must be filled out and the deadline for that is Nov. 27.

The event itself will take place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 9, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 10. Although it’s a free event for all, donations will be accepted and will be directed to future upgrades of the community center.

People from any town may participate, whether an individual, family or business. There is no fee to register. Ribbons will be awarded to trees the public has voted as Most Colorful, Most Unique, Best Tree Topper, Best Under-Tree Display, Most Playful, Most Elaborate, Most Holiday Spirit, Favorite Handmade Ornaments, Favorite Theme and People’s Choice.

There are three new special Judges Awards that the Holiday Trees Committee will select in the categories of: Thematic Expression Award, Originality Award and Judges Choice. Recipients of those three awards will receive a local restaurant gift certificate.

“Everyone who comes to the event can vote in 10 different categories,” Martin said. “We thought by adding Judges Awards, with fancy ribbons, that it might be an extra oomph to have people enjoy creating something more than what they have may otherwise.”

Aside from the many different trees on display, there also will be visits from Santa, a kids’ craft area, hayrides, raffles and baked goods. People can help raise funds by donating their decorated tree or ornaments to their raffle which occurs at 2:45 p.m. Dec. 10.

With three additional categories offered this year, there is a possibility of more trees on display.

“We’re hoping for a few more trees this year,” Senior Program Coordinator Gloria Schultz said.

She said in the past they’ve had up to 40 trees set out on display.

“Repairing some windows and the gym floor are the two big thing we plan on improving,” Martin said.

She’s one of the primary organizers of this event and said that everything that takes place in the building goes toward supporting the center.

“We have broken windows that need replacing that are high around the perimeter of the gym in the Community Center,” Martin said.

The center inherited their gym floor from New England College when they replaced their floor a number of years ago. She said there’s space between the floor pieces and that it’s widening where they’re supposed to meet, warping and peeling up. She said it’s getting to be “hazardous.”

Martin recalled a similar type of festival that was held many years ago in town that was sponsored by the Peterborough Garden Club that she’d go to with her boys, who are now young adults.

“When they were children we’d enjoy going to the festival,” Martin said. “It’s been absent for many years and a few of us decided to resurrect the event. The Rec Dept. did it as a town celebration and it has become, now in the three years we’ve had it, increasingly a part of many local families anticipated ways of celebrating the holidays.”

With many themed decorations she said most of the trees at this event don’t look like the ones you’d have in your home.

“We try to make it a full, free Christmas experience,” Martin said. “Families will come and hang out all afternoon.”

With time winding down for those looking to participate by reserving a space for a tree, the deadline is right around the corner and an application form and invitation can be found on the town website.

“Over 40 trees are committed right now. We have a deadline because we have to start working on the program with little descriptions of each tree,” Martin said.

With no cost to participate or fee to enter it’s a matter of whether or not someone or some group can pull off supplying and decorating their own tree.

In reference to being at the Holiday Trees event Martin said, “Everywhere you look it’s something you wouldn’t expect to see.”

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or