35th annual Holiday Tree Festival in Akron kicks off holidays with 140 unique trees for sale

Posted at 4:09 PM, Nov 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 18:13:25-05

Some of the trees are bright white and brilliant. Another is Minion yellow. Others are made out of silver spoons and forks or have branches covered with garland made out of 2,300 beer caps.

Those are just a few of the 140 trees that will be on display and for sale during the 35th annual Holiday Tree Festival in Akron which kicks off with a private gala on Friday.

The festival is open to the public Nov. 19-27 at the John S. Knight Center. Admission is free.

All items on display are donated by local corporations, groups and individuals and will be available for sale on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Over the years, the Holiday Tree Festival has raised more than $5.2 million to benefit medical research, education and patient care programs at Akron Children's Hospital.

While many of the trees are full of flair, many of them also have deep meaning.

Jessica Goldbourn decorated a tree to honor her 9-year-old cousin, Timmy Shannon, who died earlier this year from Cystic Fibrosis.

"We miss him and we love him. We sure were glad that he was part of our lives," Goldbourn said. "He did not have speaking skills, but we always felt like we knew that he was telling us something."

Jennifer Hanselman, who gained national attention in 2004 as the first Ohio mother of sextuplets, also decorated a tree. The kids, now 12, and their older brother helped decorate the ornaments. The family has made other trees in previous years and feels it's their way to give back.

"We always try to teach the kids to do nice things for others because that makes you a nice person as well, so it's one of those life lessons too," Hanselman said.

The public hours for the festival are Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thanksgiving, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 11.a.m to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.