Annual Christmas Tree Festival at Burr Homestead

The 2013 Fairfield Christmas Tree Festival has selected The Kennedy Center Artist Cooperative as the beneficiary this year. All proceeds raised at this event, held from Dec. 5 through 8, will fund the cooperative, a new program opening Spring 2014 in Bridgeport.

The theme for the 2013 Festival is “A Celebration of the Human Spirit,” which expresses the elements of this new artist program.

The 34th annual festival will take place at the Burr Homestead and the doors open to the public on Friday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

From the moment visitors step into the Burr Homestead, there will be plenty to see and do. Visitors may enjoy a cup of hot cider as they roam the mansion and view the rooms designed by local interior decorators. Trees, wreaths and decorative items throughout the house will be for sale, as well as custom-made, one-of-a-kind live wreaths. The Holiday Boutique will offer festive gifts and ornaments. Children will be able to take a photo with Santa.

Tickets will be available for the special events held every day of the festival weekend. The festival opens with the “Snowflake Preview Gala” on Dec. 5,  from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. This event includes food stations, a silent auction, music performed by Christine Tambakis from Twisted Vine and an open bar sponsored by Pernod Ricard Distributors. There will also be a champagne “take-a-chance” to win jewelry donated by Henry C. Reid & Son Jewelers and a giving tree with hand-made ornaments created by clients of The Kennedy Center. Tickets to this event, sponsored by Moffly Media, begin at $150 per person.

The children’s event, called “Winter Wonderland,” is Dec. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m., and will include face painting, a magician and the St. Thomas Children’s Choir singing Christmas carols throughout the evening, as well as a surprise visit from Santa. There will be pasta dinner by A&S Italian Deli, desserts from Billy’s Bakery and the Pantry and ice cream treats from Sunny Daes, and a special drawing for a prize. The event is followed by an old fashioned Christmas stroll to watch the annual tree lighting at Town Hall. Tickets are $20 per adult, $10 per child and children under 3 are free.

New to the festival this year is an event called “Christmas Island Party,” sponsored by Serendipity Magazine, on Dec. 7, from 7 to 10 p.m. Party-goers will dance to Band Together and have a light dinner of taco/slider/salsa food stations with a margarita bar, wine and beer provided by Two Roads Brewing Company. Attendees may also try to win high-end handbags and shoes. Tickets are $75 per person.

Another new event, “PJs, Pancakes and Penguins,” is a family holiday breakfast held on Dec. 8. This event features pancakes provided by Chip’s Restaurant, a children’s corner with storyteller, penguin-themed arts and crafts, face painting, sing-alongs and “Happy Feet” dancing. Breakfast also includes sausage, bacon, coffee, Bigelow Tea, hot chocolate and juice. There is also an opportunity to a try to win baskets for children and families. Tickets are $15 per adult, $10 per child and children 3 and under are free.

The winner of the quilt raffle will be drawn on Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. One winner will receive an heirloom “Hearts All Around” quilt designed and created by Fairfield artist Cecily Zerega. The second prize is a “Lots of Love” quilt. All proceeds from the raffle will benefit NAMI Fairfield.

General admission to the festival is $5 to $10, and tickets to the special events may be purchased by visiting the festival’s website.

Media sponsors include Star 99.9, Moffly Media (gala sponsor) and Serendipity Magazine (Christmas island sponsor). Other sponsors include Pernod Ricard, Two Roads Brewing Company, People’s United Bank, Bucks Creek Foundation, Bankwell of Fairfield and RIPE Bar Juice.