Nov. 20—HENDERSON — Until the first day of 2024, McGregor Hall's lobby will be a Christmas wonderland as part of the Festival of Trees.
Lining either side are 25 elaborately decorated Christmas trees. Local businesses and organizations each sponsored a tree in order to raise funds for the Downtown Development Corporation. Last Friday, approximately 150 local business owners, politicians, librarians and more showed up for the reception, a formal gala celebrating the fundraiser's completion.
Gathered around small tables, they drank, snacked on hors d'oeuvres and made merry. Others walked up and down the hall, marveling at the trees. Attendees also received delicate golden ornaments depicting Henderson's famous landmarks, like First Baptist Church, Mistletoe Villa and more.
"I am extremely pleased with the response and support the Downtown Development Corporation received for the 2023 Festival of Trees," said McKinley Perkinson, DDC vice chair. "What started as an idea to raise funds for new banners for our downtown area, turned into a beautiful display in McGregor Hall and a wonderful way to kick off the holidays in Henderson. I hope everyone will take time to view the trees, see one of the holiday shows at McGregor Hall, and shop and dine local in our lovely downtown."
DDC Board Chair Daniel White said he had nothing but positive feedback from the event.
The DDC sold 25 trees total. Broken down, that's seven platinum-level sponsors at $2,500 apiece, one gold at $1,000 and 17 silver at $250. In all, before the expenses from Friday's reception are factored in, that's $22,750 — though the final amount raised has yet to be determined.
The money will go towards purchasing new banners for the downtown area, to be used throughout the winter. They may have raised enough for a second set, though that's not a sure thing yet, said White.
There were around 200 invitations in circulation, and more than half of those showed up.
"It's a good example of what happens when there's a lot of like-minded community involvement in an event," said White. "Everybody was excited for the event, and everybody came out and supported it."
The festival began as a test last year — no money was raised and around 10 trees were set up at the request of the DDC. The reception was a first. White stepped up as chair in July this year.