The fifth annual Festival of Trees was launched on Tuesday with a sparkly, seasonal VIP reception at Gardenia Court, Camana Bay.
The Festival is the main fundraiser for the non-profit Central Caribbean Marine Institute, whose staff research and educate about coral environments based out of a research centre on Little Cayman.
The CCMI is also internationally recognised for providing real-time oceanographic and weather data vital to the understanding of the world’s changing climate and its effect on reefs worldwide.
This year’s Festival of Trees features Christmas trees and holiday wreaths decorated by a number of designers, adorned with jewellery, art, gifts and surprises – all donated by local businesses and individuals.
Joanna Humphries, whose tree is inspired by underwater photography and reef-related objects, explained the ethos behind her tree.
‘The family is keen on beachcombing so we had a lot of sea fans and shells that had washed up on the shore that we spray-painted. We used some camera film rather than tinsel and the canisters as decoration.’
Ms Humphries, who is also on the committee arranging the festival, praised the hard work of the volunteers.
The festival site includes the Dickens Store, a booth staffed by volunteers where for a $25 donation the public can draw a raffle ticket that corresponds to a gift bag.
‘It could be anything from a key ring to a helicopter ride, gift baskets, or regulators in there – there is a myriad of prizes,’ explained Brenda Gadd, Managing Director of CCMI.
‘Which of course is the fun of it all.’
Extra festive flavour was given by flautist Sue Horrocks and violinist Kate Allenger of Cayman National Orchestra playing through Christmas classics as guests sipped wine and admired the displays.
Saturday’s holiday evening brings the festivities to a close in some style with a champagne reception, dinner party and the ever-popular live auction and silent auction of the trees and wreaths at Ristorante Pappagallo.
The trees themselves are not only a centerpiece for the living room of any home, but also of course are a one-stop solution for this year’s Christmas presents.
Auctioneer Don Martin comes from Colorado to volunteer his mighty pipes after making a successful debut last year. In these difficult days, he says, charity donation is extremely important.
‘When times are hard is even more valuable,’ he mused. ‘When times are hard people understand that charity needs the help more than ever. The CCMI do great work and hopefully the public will give them the support they deserve.’
For further information about the CCMI and availability of tables and seats at the auction email [email protected] or ring 948 1094