The annual Festival of Trees at the Saco Museum opens to the public Nov. 29 and is preceded by a Preview Gala  on Nov. 23. Liz Gotthelf/Journal Tribune file photo

SACO — The annual Festival of Trees at the Saco Museum debuts with a preview gala Nov. 23 and opens to the public on Friday, Nov. 29.

The event, which drew 5,000 visitors in 2018, will showcase 31 decorated trees this year. The trees are sponsored by individuals, businesses and organizations who decorate the evergreens themselves — or choose to have the Museum’s Festival of Trees Design Committee do it for them, said museum Director Tara Raiselis.

This year’s theme is “Christmas Around the World.”

This is the 15th year for the tree festival. Saco Museum and Dyer Library Board President Linsey Pilon said an artist tree, decorated with works by local artists, will be up for bid through Dec. 19.

The Nov. 23 preview gala is set for 6 to 9 p.m., where attendees will get a sneak peek at the decorated trees.

Admission to the gala is $20.

A winning bid at the silent auction that begins that night could deliver a Saco River cruise, a week in June at a home at Fortune’s Rocks, a five-course dinner for six at a riverfront home in Saco and a variety of other items, said Pilon.

Starting Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving, the Festival of Trees, a free event, opens to the public.

Among the trees are several that are 10- to 12-feet tall, and many that are seven- and four-feet tall. Several of the smaller trees along with some wreaths will be  raffled off, said Raiselis, with proceeds to benefit museum and library programs.

Some related events have been scheduled:

A free children’s craft day is set for Saturday, Dec. 7, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dyer Library.

There are two seatings for Tea with Mrs. Claus on Saturday, Dec. 14, noon and 1:30 p.m. The event is free, but those interested must register at 207-283-3861, ext.102.

A visit with Santa Claus takes place from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 at the Saco Museum.

During the Festival of Trees, the Saco Museum will be open noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; noon to 8 p.m. Fridays; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

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