1st Annual Festival of Trees December 2022

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In spite of bitter cold and strong winds, the community came out to enjoy this kick off to the holiday season in Damascus. In addition to the decorated trees, children were thrilled as Santa Claus arrived each evening on a Clackamas County Fire Department truck, accompanied by his favorite elf, Toby. There were plenty of candy canes, cookies, hot cocoa with marshmallows, and hot cider for all. Carolers sang, children laughed, folks voted on favorite trees, and although the weather forced us to cancel our planned third evening, three winners were awarded their prizes.

We learned a good lesson about the winter weather, and future Festival of Trees events WILL be held indoors! Although the park gazebo looks so beautiful, thanks to having been painted by the great folks at Uptown Painting and decorated by Uptown Lights (their winter aka), Santa will continue greeting the little ones there.

Start planning now to participate in the 2nd Annual Festival of Trees. We will have plenty of room for your decorated tree, and you won’t need a canopy or to worry about security or the weather.

There are so many people to thank …

The following people worked on setting up the event, provided security, donated funds and goodies, decorated trees, sang songs, greeted folks, made the Santa gazebo possible, and planned and worked for months to promote and see that the 1st Annual Festival of Trees would happen. And, as they watched canopies blow away and trees fall over, they kept on smiling and did everything they could to keep things going! Every one of them is a treasure to our community and to the Damascus Civic Club.

Boy Scout Troop 212

Kitty Castro-Leon

Gary Chandler, State Farm Insurance

Michael Cooper

Shannon Corbett

Maureen Davis

Allan Dunn

Arthur Dunn and Caroling Friends

Timothy Giorgi

Gina Gutierrez, Root Executives LLC

Izak Hamilton, Clackamas Fire District #1

Monica Madary, Safeway Damascus

Chris Olsen, A.C.R.E.

Dale & Laura Parsons

Rick Readel

Sarah Reseburg, Bow & Arrow Coffeehouse

Jay Robinson, Triple J Test, Inc.

Jeanne Robinson, Triple J Test, Inc.

Jill Rowland, A.C.R.E.

Richard Skaggs (Santa) and Toby

Dave & Linda Stickel

Jessica Toll, Pub212

Abelina Turel

Shana Sullins

Uptown Lights

Sara Williams, Country Kids Preschool

And a special thank you and farewell to Cindy Passannante

Most Damascus folks have known Cindy Passannante and recognized her indominitable spirit in our community and elsewhere for many years. As a friend of and later a member of the Damascus Civic Club, she was always quick to offer her energy, resources, financial support, and terrific ideas to see that the Damascus Civic Club and the Damascus Centennial Park were always successful.

As planning began for the Festival of Trees, Cindy was right there with great ideas and involvement. She submitted entry forms to have two trees in the event, and described them to us in an email that we will treasure.

As the owner of C P Trips, a travel agency, Cindy was always thinking of ways to promote travel, and her plans for the Festival of Trees were fitting — Christmas Around the World. She had ideas to decorate her trees with ornaments specific to the customs of many other countries, including Iceland, England, France, Israel, Sweden, Mexico, Japan, and Ukraine.

Cindy shared a bit of Ukrainian folklore about a very poor family with nothing to decorate for Christmas, but they chopped down a tree and brought it into their small unheated home one Christmas Eve. When they awoke in the morning, the tree was glistening beautifully in the morning light. During the night, spiders had woven their webs throughout the boughs, and the moisture in the night air had settled as droplets over the entire tree, leading to a magical morning for the poor family — and to an enduring tradition in Ukraine of having ornaments of spiders and webs to grace their trees.

As the event was setting up on Friday, December 2nd, we kept waiting for Cindy to arrive. It was getting late, so we called to see what was holding her up. To our shock and sorrow, we learned that Cindy had died a few days earlier. She was home, surrounded by family, and her passing was unexpected.

Please keep Cindy’s family and many friends in your thoughts and prayers. She will be greatly missed.