“Every year, we’ve seen a jump in the number of people who’ve come to see the trees,” says Kirsten O’Donnell, Goodwill’s director of public relations and marketing. “We had almost a thousand more people come this year than in 2010.”
The week-long holiday event featured 27 elaborately-
Visitors to the Festival of Trees (http://www.tuxandtrees.com) came not only from across Florida, but across the globe.
“About a quarter of the people who visited us came from other states or countries,” says O’Donnell. “We had folks from 39 states, from here in Florida to as far away as Alaska. Our international visitors came from eleven different countries, including Norway, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Spain, and the Netherlands.”
O’Donnell says that this was the first year that guests were asked for their home towns.
“We were really pleased by the results,” she adds. “We understand that most of the out-of-towners were here to visit family and friends for the holidays, but it’s great to know that locals think of our event as a must-see for their out of town guests.”
At the close of the Festival, the trees were auctioned at the Tux & Trees Gala, a black-tie fundraiser. Goodwill is currently tabulating the proceeds from the event.
The Festival of Trees and the Tux & Trees Gala http://www.tuxandtrees.com are the signature fundraising events of the Southwest Florida Goodwill Foundation, which supports programs and services for people with disabilities and other disadvantages in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades Counties. More information about Goodwill’s programs and services is available at http://www.goodwillswfl.org.
The Festival of Trees is presented with the assistance of sponsorships from The Home Depot, the Fort Myers News-Press, D’Latinos Magazine, Azteca America SWFL and Sunny 106.3. Additional support was provided by Gulfcoast Consulting Group, Inc. and Westco Builders of Florida, Inc.
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The Festival of Trees and Tux &Trees Gala are held annually in the Fort Myers River District, beginning the day after Thanksgiving. The events are signature fundraisers of the Southwest Florida Goodwill Foundation.