This year’s eighth annual Festival of Trees Gala on Dec. 5, themed “Honoring Our 50 States,” gave a little nod to each with some individualized decorations highlighting their unique features at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach.
“The Festival of Trees Gala was a magical evening and I believe it was the best yet – superb in every aspect,” said David Miller, board president.
More than 400 people showed up to ooh and ahh at the stars of the show: the trees.
There were 30 state trees in all. Upon arrival guests first encountered the New York tree, which included a Broadway sign, yellow cab cutout and a young newsie calling out “Extra! Extra!” The Florida tree had pink flamingos and the Massachusetts tree was turned into a Boston tea party ship. Along with their trees were performers from the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival dressed as icons from each state – like Lady Liberty, a Native American and Paul Bunyan – and interacted with guests.
Entertaining the masses were the Gumbo Jumbo Trio, Palm Beach Atlantic University Dance Ensemble, Palm Beach Atlantic University Preparatory String Department and more.
No one went hungry while walking the more than two-acre tree tour, as gourmet food was served up throughout with a carving station, cheese table, dessert station and passed appetizers from The Breakers, Whole Foods, Christina’s Catering, Hampton Forks, Heineken, Mariner III, Nick & Johnnie’s and Pistache. Guests sipped delicious beverages including a full bar from Premier Beverages and Heineken, as well as a tea and scones table from Serenity Garden Tea House & Café.
The pièce de résistance was the show-stopping dessert: a historic, “snow-covered” gingerbread White House from Johnson’s Custom Cakes and More.
Other highlights included Kevin A. Clark’s synchronized light, water and sound show.
“Much of the credit goes to our amazing Chairs, Sarah and Tim Benitz, Jenny Garrigues and the decorators, our of course our community support: Wilmington Trust, the Gardens Conservancy and our many tree sponsors and guests, and the wonderful staff,” said Miller.
The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens are located at 253 Barcelona Rd. in West Palm Beach. For more information, visit www.ansg.org or call (561) 832-5328.