VALLEY DISPATCH/GAYLE SIMONE
“Tiny Bubbles” by Ferrets of New England.com wasn’t suposed to be cornucopia, but the tree fell over and the redesign took place.
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METHUEN — The 13th annual Festival of Trees premiere, like the 12 previous, was a visual feast for the approximately1,000 in attendance at the Valley Office Park.

Opening night Nov. 17 was by invitation only, reserved for those directly involved with the Festival. They were the fortunate ones who got the first look at the 205 magnificently decorated holiday trees.

“This is a very special night,” Maureen Pollard, Festival of Trees president, told the crowd. “This is a night for you, our donors, friends and volunteers.”

There is no theme for the Festival because each tree was originally decorated in its own unique style.

There were trees that catered to women, the sports enthusiast, the animal lover, the chocoholic and of course children.

Nassar Ford donated a tree called “Polarized” that featured large and small stuffed polar bears; “What a Girl Wants” by Kelsey Perrault and Amanda Cote focused on Prada and Burberry bags; stickSave.net donated a tree made completely of hockey-stick blades and goalie netting called “Stick Save — And a Byoot.”

Area schools — including Methuen High School, Tenney, Comprehensive and Marsh grammar schools; Central Catholic, Presentation of Mary, Greater Lawrence Technical School and St. Joseph Regional Catholic School — all donated trees to the event, along with Smartypants Academy, Chapel Kindergarten and Pre-School, Rangerland Pre-School and The Creative Learning Academy Pre-School/Childcare of Methuen.

Those in attendance were not disappointed.

“It’s amazing,” said Jeanne Whitten, Methuen schools superintendent, who attended the event for the first time. “I can’t believe Methuen does this. The trees are beautiful.”

All trees displayed are being raffled off to the public along with silent auctions, a café and visits from St. Nick himself. The funds are used to preserve and restore Methuen’s historical sites. The Festival runs until Dec. 2.

Have a story idea? Gayle Simone can be reached at 978-970-4838 or by e-mail at gsimone@thevalleydispatch.com.