| Danielle Eaton
WEST SPRINGFIELD – With Halloween over, holiday preparations are in full swing for the Christmas season. One popular holiday event that begins in late November is the Red Thread 5th Annual Yuletide Jubilee.
Current director and one of the founding members of Red Thread, Jane Barrientos, told Reminder Publishing the Yuletide Jubilee started about five years ago when the organization decided they wanted to host a fundraiser that would also serve as a community project.
The event takes place each year in the showroom of Balise Toyota at 1399 Riverdale St. in West Springfield. During the duration of the event the showroom is decorated with dozens of holiday trees donated by local organizations and individuals.
“It’s growing every year. We started with 19 trees, this year so far we’re up to 42,” said Barrientos. She said of the original 19 organizations and individuals who donated trees the first year the event took place, 13 have continued to donate trees throughout the years. This she said, “shows the commitment” of the community to the event.
The annual event will kick off on Nov. 29 and go until Dec. 15. People will be able to visit the display for free from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Also taking place on Nov. 29, Barrientos said, will be the annual tree lighting. She told Reminder Publishing, the tree lighting is her favorite part of the event each year. “Every time I tear up, it’s really beautiful,” she said. “During the reception there are people there, so they count down. It’s very pretty.”
Throughout the duration of the display, attendees will be able to purchase a sheet of 25 raffle tickets for $10 and then have a chance to win one of the dozens of artfully decorated trees that make up the display. Tickets for a 50/50 raffle will also be sold for $5.
Barrientos said throughout the event there will also be entertainment by local musicians, a performance of Irish Step Dancers and dueling artists who will paint some of the trees.
She said there will also be a Night Out. “They can do something with an artist to make a small tree ornament or something,” Barrientos said. She said while she’s not sure what the activity will be this year, there were “several years of painting glass ornaments.”
The Night Out activity, she said, is the only part of the event that requires a small fee. Barrientos said usually the fee is $5 and covers the cost of materials used during the activity.
The official deadline to donate a tree for the Yuletide Jubilee is Nov. 20. However, Barrientos said they usually accept tree donations until the day they begin setting up for the show, which is Nov. 26. Those interested in donating a tree should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Barrientos said trees will continue to be collected until the showroom is full.
The proceeds from the event will help Red Thread continue to support local projects and artists. One of the projects Red Thread helps to support regularly is a monthly art session at the Cancer House of Hope. Barrientos told Reminder Publishing they have additional upcoming projects they plan to help fund as well, such as the reception for an annual art show they host, and helping the town of West Springfield pay for the painting of electrical boxes.
“Anything that comes up –, school projects, we’re able to give them money for supplies,” she said. “We try to balance some things for children, some for adults.”
She said Red Thread is really passionate about “community arts and supporting that” and she is thankful to have a community like West Springfield that supports them in their mission.