by Kendra Wingate Correspondent This year’s Fairfield Christmas Tree Festival is “A Celebration of the Human Spirit,” from the decorations that deck the halls of the Burr Homestead to the charity that will receive the money raised. The festival opens with a gala preview party Thursday, Dec. 5, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Burr Homestead, 739 Old Post Road. All of the funds raised will help the Kennedy Center open an artists cooperative in Bridgeport next spring. The Kennedy Center is a community-based rehabilitation organization that serves more than 2,000 individuals of all ages each year. The Kennedy Center operates 26 community experience programs, 16 group homes, an industries program composed of six businesses, supported and competitive employment, job placement services, a family support and respite service, travel training, and a variety of children’s programs. Since its inception in 1981, the Fairfield Christmas Tree Festival has raised more than $3.5 million for area charities, chosen through an annual application process. Halls decked Each room of the Burr Homestead has been decorated by local interior designers, who volunteer their time. The trees, wreaths, decorative items, mantel pieces, swags, and gifts are available for purchase. Wreaths may also be made to order, while the buyer waits, and the holiday gift boutique sells ornaments, gifts and collectibles. The festival is open to the public Friday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children may have photos taken with Santa Claus throughout the weekend. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and seniors. Information and tickets to the festival and special events are available at FairfieldChristmasTreeFestival.org. Information may also be found on Facebook. Festival sponsors also include the Norma F. Pfriem Foundation, People’s United Bank, Bucks Creek Foundation, Bankwell of Fairfield, and Aspetuck Valley Orchards. Special events The Fairfield Christmas Tree Festival opens with the Snowflake Preview Gala Thursday, Dec. 5, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The first opportunity to shop at the festival includes food stations, a silent auction, music by Christine Tambakis from Twisted Vine, an open bar by ACE Distributing with all-natural mixers by RIPE Craft Juice, a champagne raffle to win jewelry donated by Henry C. Reid & Son Jewelers, and a giving tree featuring handmade ornaments created by clients of the Kennedy Center. Tickets to the Moffly Media-sponsored event begin at $150 per person. The annual Children’s Winter Wonderland will be open Friday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. Activities will include face painting, a magician, caroling by the St. Thomas Children’s Choir, and a surprise visit. A&S Italian Deli will provide a pasta dinner, with desserts from Billy’s Bakery, the Pantry and Sunny Daes. Tickets to the Children’s Winter Wonderland are $20 per adult, $10 per child; children under 3 years old are admitted free of charge. The Children’s Winter Wonderland will be followed by a stroll to the Town Hall Green to watch the annual tree lighting. New to the festival this year is a Christmas Island Party Saturday, Dec. 7, from 7 to 10 p.m. Partygoers will dance to Jimmy Buffet-inspired music by Band Together while dining at light taco/slider/salsa stations by Celebrations with Carlson. There will be margarita bar with tequila provided by Pernod Ricard, wine provided by Quintessential Wines, and beer provided by Two Roads Brewing. Tickets to the event, sponsored by Serendipity Magazine, are $75 per person. Also new this year is PJ’s, Pancakes and Penguins, a family holiday breakfast Sunday, Dec. 8, from 9 to 11. This event feature pancakes provided by Chips Restaurant, a children’s corner with a storyteller, penguin-themed arts and crafts, face painting, sing-alongs, and “Happy Feet” dancing. Breakfast also includes sausage, bacon, Bigelow tea, and beverages. Tickets are $15 per adult, $10 per child; children 3 and under are admitted free. The winner of a raffle for a 42-inch-square quilt designed and created by Cecily Zerega, called “Hearts All Around,” will be chosen Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5; proceeds from the quilt raffle will benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness.