(I'm playing a bit of catch up. Had to figure out some photo hosting bees-wax, but we're back in business now. Thanks, Adam!)
There are Festival of Trees events all over this time of year. Owatonna has one, too. It is put on by a wonderful organization, Advocates for Developmental Disabilities, that provides support, advocacy and service to families of children and adults with developmental disabilities in Steele County (that's their mission statement). Every year (for 22 years now), generous community members volunteer their time and talent to decorate Christmas trees in a variety of sizes. Often times the trees have a theme (a specific movie, "Up North," candy themed, etc.) which makes them even more fun. Then, more wonderful community members and businesses step up as underwriters and purchase the trees. The tree they actually get to take home is chosen based on a lottery system the night of the Festival. Underwriters and community members are invited to come view all the trees at the event, this year at our new Steele County Historical Society building. It's always a great night and such a sight to see all these absolutely beautiful trees.
My dad's business, Dresser Family Dentistry, gets a tree every year. For the past couple years, they have decided to turn around and donate the tree to a family in need through my work. So, I have gone along for the Festival to select a tree that would be a good fit for that family. It's very difficult to walk through and decide on favorites because they truly are all so beautiful!
Of course, this Christmas by the Sea tree was my favorite.