Even as we are facing another surge in COVID-19 cases, the winter holidays are sneaking up on us. I imagine that almost all of us are wondering what those (presumably) merry times are going to look like this year. We all know things are going to necessarily be different — but how different and in what ways? What can we save this year to somehow preserve some much-needed sense of normalcy?

Last spring, although the Dyer Library and Saco Museum were still closed, we and our volunteers began to develop plans for our annual Festival of Trees. In the midst of the spring lock-down, it was very hard to envision what fall and winter would look like when it came to the pandemic. Many people were predicting a fall and winter surge that would surely make nearly impossible most of the usual much-anticipated aspects of our holiday festival. But none of us wanted to abandon the celebration, knowing that if COVID was bad, all of us were going to be even more desperate for some … cheer!

The plan we developed is leading up to a Festival of Trees like none other we’ve held. This year there will (sadly) be no gallery filled with glittering trees, not quite a tea with Mrs. Claus, no fun Gala — well, you get the picture. Even though all of that is pretty sad, there will be a Festival! Nearly all of it will occur outside. Our theme this year is “A Season of Gratitude.” We are so grateful for the community support for this important fundraiser, for all the businesses and all our constituents who have poured their hearts and souls into making this such a fun event for the past decade and a half

So this year, we are decorating our little campus to the nines, with lots and lots of glittery lights for you to drive by and enjoy, and on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Santa will be standing alongside our lot, ready to greet children who are (socially distanced) in their cars. Even Mrs. Claus has come through with plans for grab bags so kids (who preregister at 283-3861, ext. 102) can have their own special “tea” event at home. There will be a fun online auction of services and cool stuff. The auction site https://airauctioneer.com/2020-festival-of-trees-auction is not quite ready to go live yet, but coming soon. Bidding will open on Friday, Nov. 27, so don’t forget to shop! Better yet, if you have truly neat stuff to donate for the auction — including services — we’d love to hear from you at 283-3861, ext. 113 or ext. 101.

It’s a strange time but we are doing everything we can to make it be a season of gratitude for all that we cherish. Please join us this year for our Festival of Trees. P.S. don’t forget to shop our Annual Book Sale, a wonderful way to access a huge collection of bargain — but great — books, open whenever the Dyer Library is open.

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