WOODFORD COUNTY — It's the season of giving, and Woodford County is in the spirit.
Now in its third year, the Woodford County 2020 Festival of Trees is raising money for underprivileged youth this holiday season. The funds are distributed equally between two local charities.
"Woodford County Festival of Trees is a fundraiser that's designed to raise money for the local chapters of Woodford County Shop with a Cop and Woodford County Young Life," said Elisha Holt, owner of Wildside Winery in Versailles.
Local businesses and community members decorated and donated 17 trees to the festival's mission and the organization's ability to support the community's youth. The trees are strategically placed in local businesses so they can be viewed safely while social distancing during COVID-19.
"It's important to do this because those two organizations one, provide for the community and, two, help the young people and youth in our community," said Shirie Hawkins of the Festival of Trees.
Jessica Kite, who owns The Galerie in Versailles, explained why the festival is so "wonderful."
"So, the trail of trees is wonderful for two reasons: it gives the opportunity for all of our patrons to safely see and socially distance view all of the trees here in the community," said Kite. "But it also is a great traffic driver for all of the merchants who have sponsored us for the last two and three years here at Woodford County Festival of Trees."
Each tree host is a local business, many of which rely on foot traffic to remain open. The festival committee hopes the trees bring a boost to local businesses, in addition to the holiday spirit.
"Every single place that you're walking into to look at these trees is a small business, like mine, who really needs foot traffic also because of COVID this year. So, you're really doing a couple of good things," Holt said. "You're introducing yourself, perhaps, to some new businesses, maybe taking some time to spend some time in those businesses, maybe making a purchase while you're there, also checking out the Christmas trees, and what you might like to place a purchase for a raffle ticket for."
Those visiting can travel around Woodford County can get into the Christmas cheer while viewing the trees placed in merchant shops and restaurants in both Versailles and Midway.