Christmas spirit is evident at annual Festival of Trees

Dearborn Mayor John O’ Reilly Jr. (second from left), honorary co-chair of the Festival of Trees Preview Party, is pictured with Kay Batsakes of Lincoln Park (left) and EmmaJean Woodyard of Dearborn at a tree decorated with stuffed animals donated by event sponsor ACO Hardware. The festival, attended by more than 5,000 people Nov. 20 through 28 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, was a fund-raiser for the Evergreen Endowment Fund of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation. The stuffed animals will be delivered to patients at the hospital.

By Evelyn Cairns
The Christmas spirit was evident at the 26th annual Festival of Trees Preview Party at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center Nov. 20 as guests admired and purchased awesomely decorated trees from 3 to 7 feet tall, gorgeous wreaths and handmade gifts.

A very special tree was created by Festival of Trees volunteers using stuffed animals donated by event sponsor ACO Hardware. The animals will be presented to patients at Children’s Hospital of Michigan for Christmas, said Theresa Diefenbach, Festival of Trees executive director.

Santa was on hand, of course, for photographs and to take requests for gifts to be delivered on Christmas Eve.

In addition to a strolling supper offering a assortment of appetizers, hand-carved beef and chicken, salads, pastas and other delectables provided by Park Place Catering, guests were treated to a spec-tacular array of sweets donated by more than 30 bakeries.

Among the donors were the Fancy Pastry Shop and Hungarian Strudel Shop of Allen Park; the Jo Brighton Skills Center Bakery, Wyandotte; and Antonio’s Cucina Italiana/Roman Village of Dearborn Heights and Dearborn.

Additional Dearborn contributors were Bartz Bakery, Dearborn Sweets, the Fairlane Club, Italia Bakery, Iversen’s Bakery, New Yasmeen Bakery, Shatila and Westborn Market.

Dearborn Mayor John O’ Reilly Jr. and Christine O’Reilly were honorary chairs of the festival.

Proceeds from the festival, which continued through Nov. 28, are earmarked for the Evergreen Endowment Fund of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation. An estimated 5,000 people visited the Ford Center to see the trees and Christmas-shop during the eight days of the festival.

Nautical flea market slated
If your holiday shopping list includes sailors, power boaters or Great Lakes enthusiasts, the Detroit Historical Society’s Dossin Marine Group suggests you visit its annual Marine Mart Dec. 11 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

The mart, an annual flea market, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with shiploads of nautical items including lighthouse prints, postcards, magazines, china, clocks, nautical charts, navy hats, maritime artifacts and much more. More than 40 exhibitors will participate.

Tickets, $7, will be available at the door. Early-bird admission, at 9:30 a.m., will cost $10. Children 12 and younger are free.

Additional information is available at (313) 833-7938. The War Memorial is at 32 Lakeshore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms.

‘I’ll be Home’ will be staged
The holiday musical “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” will be staged Dec. 9 through 12 at the Fisher Theatre.

The play revolves around the youngest son of the Bolden clan, Davis, who is returning home from prison and entering a new life as a preacher in a tough economy; his brother, Josh, whose wife wants him to take over his retiring father’s pulpit, and Uncle Charlie, who tries to help the family in his own comical way.

Tickets for Dec. 9 are $25; Dec. 11, $35; and Dec. 10 and 12, $32.50. To purchase tickets, visit or charge by phone at TicketMaster, (800) 982-2787.

Save the Date . . .
Through Dec. 31 — Musical comedy, “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold,” starring Mary Zentmyer; tickets, $27.50 to $32-50, are available at all TicketMaster outlets or by calling (800) 982-2787.

Dec. 10, 17-23, 26, 27 — Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village; 6:30 to 10 p.m.; Victorian-era carolers, Model T and carriage rides, sing-alongs, ice skating, food and fireworks; special dining packages (Supper with Santa and holiday feast at Eagle Tavern); village admission is $17, adults; $15, youths (children 4 and under, free); to purchase tickets, call (313) 982-6001 or go to

Dec. 19 — Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker; 3 p.m. at the Fox Theatre; featuring principal artist Ekaterina Bortyakova and Akzhol Mussokhanov and a Russian cast of 40; tickets, $27 to $350, are available at all Ticketmaster locations and and For more information, call (313) 471-3099.