Festival of Trees no more

Multiple factors lead to end of 26-year holiday celebration

by Marianne Gasaway

One of Clear Lake’s longstanding holiday traditions has come to an end.

CEO Mark Dodd has announced that One Vision will no longer hold its Festival of Trees.  

“While this is a tough decision for us to make, we recognized this event needed to change after 26 years.  We are so grateful for all the wonderful memories, creativity, lights and laughter that filled our hearts,” Dodd stated in a letter sent to Festival of Trees supporters July 7.

In recent years the festival was challenged by issues beyond its control, including weather issues and postponements in 2018 and 2019; a pandemic in 2020 during which the event went online; and space restrictions in place for the 2021 activities.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of hours of planning and coordination that go into the event and many things to consider, such as the availability of volunteers and tree sale numbers. We had been evaluating things for several years,” said Erin Luong, communication specialist for One Vision.  

In addition, One Vision’s main campus, where the festival was based, has changed dramatically over the years. 

At one time the festival was a prime opportunity for the community to have positive interaction with those served by One Vision who lived on the main campus.  However, in recent years all but a handful of clients have moved to homes within the community, where flexible services are designed to support individual needs and life goals. 

The Lights On 5K, a lighted fun run which has kicked off the Festival of Trees celebration for the past 10 years, will continue to be held, said Luong.  That event raises funds to purchase Christmas gifts for those One Vision supports.  

“As the majority of people we support now live off campus in homes of their own, we want to make sure our mission continues to bolster the support we provide so they can live their best life,” stated Dodd.

Luong said One Vision will soon be announcing details of a new event with opportunities for the public to become involved with the organization.

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