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Event celebrates 24 years


Staff writer

More than 1,000 volunteers decorated trees, set up the hallways, and entertained and guided visitors through the 24th annual Calvert Hospice Festival of Trees over the weekend.

Individuals, businesses and organizations sponsored one or more trees and then Friday, teams of decorators traveled to Huntingtown High School to adorn all 60 trees with ornaments, stockings, garland and glitter.

Visitors wandered among the 70 vendors, purchasing crafts, art and other merchandise.

The Festival of Trees benefits Calvert Hospice and the Burnett-Calvert Hospice House in Prince Frederick, which cares for individuals with chronic illnesses who are in their final days and their families.

“It takes a whole family to pull this off,” said Jeanne Coonan, who has participated in the festival in some capacity for about 20 years. This year, she served as chairwoman of the festival.

Karen Dellinger, who helped decorate the Spree Tree with hand-embellished stockings, said Friday that she and her fellow decorators began working on a theme for the tree in October.

“Then we got to work quick,” she said, adding that she would work on the stockings for four to six hours a day for about six weeks.

Her husband, Fred Dellinger, joked that he had to pull her away from crafting a couple of times.

On Friday, Linda Gottfried, the director of development for Calvert Hospice, said the Spree Tree was auctioned off with its accompanying $3,400 worth of merchandise.

Donations from about 15 local businesses, including Chesapeake Hills Golf Course, Saphron Restaurant, Carmen’s Gallery, Scalped, Nick’s of Calvert, Mama Lucia’s, CalvART Gallery and Bay Fish, among others, comprised the $3,400 Spree Tree.

The Heavenly Angels Tree, decorated by the Angelettes Jan Messick-Hobbs and Molly Jacob, was covered in angels wearing pink dresses in memory of their mothers.

Messick-Hobbs said she decorated a tree two years in memory of her mother, Phyllis “Nana” Linkins.

This year, her business, Tax and Accounting Services, sponsored the tree, and she and Jacob decorated it.

“I had to kind of teach myself,” Jacob said of crocheting 72 pink hearts in about a week and a half and 20 snowflakes over the course of three weeks.

Sisters Edith Sullivan, Mary DeNardo and Belinda Saverino decorated “The Gift that Changed the World” tree in memory of their parents, Nick and Claire Scaldaferri, and DeNardo’s husband, Ralph.

“Mom was under the care of hospice. That inspired us” to begin decorating trees 11 years ago, explained Sullivan.

DeNardo said they’ve had a different theme each year, including reindeer, candy, birds and a farm.

“We love it. It’s a good cause,” said DeNardo.

“I thought it went very well,” Coonan said Monday.

She said final numbers weren’t available yet for attendance or proceeds, but she thought traffic was up from last year.