Statement issued Friday:
Fort Wayne, Ind. – The Festival of Trees, which took place Nov. 23-30, 2011, raised more than $110,000 for the Embassy Theatre, a nonprofit organization. In addition, the festival drew 15,813 patrons to downtown Fort Wayne, generating additional visitors and dollars into downtown and the area.
The annual fundraiser and community event featured 54 uniquely decorated Christmas trees. Embassy staff tallied patrons’ votes for favorite trees to determine the following People’s Choice Award winners:
First Place People’s Choice – The Perfect Gift, sponsored by Friends of Heritage Mission, decorated by Dar’s Porch & Patio
Second Place People’s Choice – LEGO Tree, sponsored by Michael Kinder & Sons, designed by Bryan Bonahoom
Third Place People’s Choice – Festivity in Plume, sponsored and decorated by Vera Bradley
Prize winners receive framed Festival of Trees artwork designed by Emily Harmeyer of Asher Agency.
Festival of Trees raffle winners were:
Wells Fargo Money Tree – Rita Odquist, Huntington
LEGO Tree Guessing Game – Deb Hiss, Columbia City
Vera Bradley Raffle – Terry Anderson, Fort Wayne
Blue Man Group Tickets - Tony Wilson, Paulding, Ohio
Of the 15,000 people who attend the Festival of Trees each year, about 25 percent come from outside Allen County. This information was obtained through an economic impact study made by the Community Research Institute at IPFW during the Embassy’s 2010-11 season. The study, which will be released in January 2012, also revealed that 58 percent of festival patrons dined at an area restaurant before or after visiting and 37.2 percent participated in another activity in Allen County during the trip, of which 25.6 percent indicated shopping or movies as the additional activity.
This year’s Festival of Trees entertainment included a singing flash mob and community sing-a-long by Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, 22 regional dance group performances and Grande Page organ music played by Marilyn Ambrose, Tony Andorfer, Cletus Goens II, Mark Herman, Grant Nill and Michael Davis.
For the third year, Indiana Michigan Power sponsored five live trees at the festival. These trees were donated to Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation and Allen County Parks, with three trees planted at Metea Park and two at Buckner Park. To date, 15 donated trees have been planted in the city and county park systems. Also, one live tree, entitled Winter Warmth and decorated by Williams Woodland Park Neighborhood, featured hats, mittens, scarves and gloves that were distributed to needy families by Broadway Christian Church.
Built in 1928, the historic Embassy Theatre features national productions from the Broadway stage, concerts of all musical formats, cinema, educational programming and a continued commitment to young people. For more information, visit www.fwembassytheatre.org.