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Carols come straight from the 19th century to the Festival of Trees in Barnstead. Courtesy photo.




Festival of Trees

Where: Sticks & Stones Farm, 107 White Oak Road, Barnstead
When: Friday, Nov. 21, from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22, from 1 to 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 23, from 1 to 6 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person; $20 maximum family cost
Call: 776-8989
Visit: sticksandstonesfarm.net




Holiday “treets”
Sticks & Stones Farm gets festive before the holidays

11/20/14



People from all over the state are getting ready to make their trek out to the rural New Hampshire woods to get themselves in the Christmas spirit. Barbara Comtois, co-owner of the Sticks & Stones farm in Barnstead, said this makes the perfect time for the farm to host its annual Festival of Trees. 

The festival, which will be celebrating its fourth year from Friday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 23, always takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving, Comtois said, and it started as a way to raise funds for the Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center.
Every year since the festival’s inception, Sticks & Stones Farm has invited a variety of local businesses, organizations and individuals to come and decorate trees to display outside. Attendees check out all of the decorated trees and cast their votes for their favorites.
“A lot of events [this time of year] are inside, and we’re out in the country where there are not a lot of city lights to obscure the view,” said Comtois. “During the day, the trees aren’t lit up as much, but at night you can really see the lights.”
The festival usually hosts about 50 decorated trees. This year, Comtois said, the festival will be featuring some veteran groups such as the Laconia and Barnstead police departments, Combustion Motorworks, White Buffalo Trading Post, Awakening Chiropractic, the Barnstead Christian Church and Abbey Run Construction, amongst others. The festival will also welcome newcomers such as the Plymouth State Women’s Lacrosse Team and Jack’s Pizza.
The trees typically have some sort of conventional decoration on them, like lights, ornament balls and ribbon. But some of the trees feature some more unorthodox decorations.
“One year we had a hair salon here and they decorated their trees with curlers and decorated dye bottles. We had a dental company who decorated their trees with toothpaste and other dental things,” said Comtois. “This is a way to let people know about your organization.”
After the judging is finished, the trees are donated by the Laconia Police Department to families in need. The festival will also be running a collection box if attending families have winter apparel that they would like to donate, such as mittens, hats and lightly worn coats.
Caroling is also a popular feature of the festival, Comtois said. On Friday, the Tri-M Music Honor Society from Prosepct Mountain High School will be belting out your favorite yuletide tunes. On Saturday, the festival hosts the Piccolo Opera singing Christmas carols while they’re dressed in period costumes that look as though they’ve come straight from a Charles Dickens novel.
The festival will also offer a variety of other things including cookies, cocoa, cider, a photo opportunity with Santa, wagon rides around the farm, and roasting marshmallows, which Comtois said is the most popular activity amongst adults. The animals on the farm will be out too.
“It’s a great place for families to kick off the holiday season before things start to get really hectic,” she said. 
 
As seen in the November 20, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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