EXETER — The Festival of Trees ( F.O.T.) Committee is well under way preparing for its 12th annual fundraising event to benefit the Chamber Children's Fund, which provides local families in need with vouchers for new warm winter clothing.

This year's festival will take place on Thurs., December 2, in the Exeter Town Hall, from 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

In previous years (in just this one evening), the festival has raised as much as $25,000 ~ and a total of $200,000 over the past 12 years.

Churchill's Garden Center, Stratham Circle Nursery, Lang's Landscaping, Granite Creek Nursery, and Arjay's Ace Hardware have generously donated the live Christmas trees for this year's event.

Staged in the Exeter Town Hall, the 50 trees will be decorated and on display for thousands to view throughout the day as part of Exeter's Annual Holiday Open House and will be auctioned off to the highest bidders.

Themes at past festivals have ranged from whimsical to traditional, but the variety and creativity are always a spectacle to behold.

This year, the trees have been reserved by the following: La Cave A Vin, The Youth of the Congregational Church, Exeter Jewelers, Mandeville Canyon Designs/Whirlygigs, The Pet Pantry, ECCA, Dwane Staples Landscaping, To Your Art's Content, Jordan Signature Heating, Kids Who Care (CMS), Better Homes and Gardens/The Masiello Group, Novel Neighbors, Polly's Flower Shoppe, 11 Water Street, Girls in Action, The Copper Canoe, Santerre's Stones 'n Stuff, Exeter Polka Dots, RiverWoods, The Tavern, Great Bay eLearning Charter School, American Tree and Stump, The Maids, Metlife-The New England Agency, Lisowski Electric, Newmarket National Honor Society, Leone, McDonnell and Roberts, PA, CEO Cleaning Services, Seacoast Credit Union, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, SeaCare Health Services, Richie McFarland Children's Center, Great Bay Kid's Co., CMS Kiwanis Builders Club, The Willow, Exeter Area GFWC, Seacoast Book Babes, PEA Student Council, Wright Express Lube, Kids Next Door, Two Flights Down, Main Street School, Serendipity Boutique, Seacoast United Girls U11 (Coach Kendra Spencer), Hampton Inn, 4H Horse Club - Peppermint Ponies, and Cornucopia/Cookies by Design.

The F.O.T. event raises funds in a variety of ways: decorator registration fees, the silent auction of the decorated trees, the raffle of one "Gift Certificate" tree, donations collected at the door, underwriters and sponsors, and bake and ornament sales.

Proceeds from the F.O.T. are donated to the Exeter Chamber Children's Fund, which provides needed support to families in the local areas of Brentwood, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Kensington, Kingston, Newfields, Newmarket, Raymond, and Stratham.

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