WATERVILLE — The Sukeforth Family Festival of Trees’ organizers deemed this season’s event a huge success, raising more than $200,000 for charity over two weekends and giving away 72 decorated trees and gifts worth thousands of dollars.

“The trees this year were spectacular,” said Annette Sukeforth Marin, whose parents, Rita and Doug Sukeforth, host the event.

The fourth annual event, held this year at the former American Legion hall on College Avenue, has prompted businesses and organizations taking part in it to compete with each other in a friendly way to decorate special-themed trees and flank them with lots of gifts.

“These companies and organizations and charities outdid themselves this year,” Sukeforth Marin said Monday. “We’re so appreciative of all they did. It’s just awesome. We want to thank everybody for coming, all the businesses for participating. It’s an event we enjoy doing. We just love it. It puts people in the Christmas spirit.”

Sukeforth Marin was at the Legion hall Monday, where winners of the trees and gifts were coming to collect them. She said winners will continue to do so Tuesday.

The festival benefits Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area, the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers’ Christmas Program and Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels Program.

Richard Dorian, executive director of the Children’s Home, said the donation helps give needy children up to the age of 12 warm clothes, coats, mittens, hats and toys for the holidays.

“We are overjoyed to be included once again, because for us, we expect we’re going to have over 1,700 kids from all over the state,” Dorian said Monday. “We really start for next Christmas now to build up the inventory. We basically fill and empty the building three times.”

Sukeforth Marin said the tree festival drew visitors from miles around.

“We probably had 13,000 people come through for both weekends,” she said.

The festival opened Nov. 16 for the weekend and re-opened again Friday for the weekend. Guests purchased tickets and bid on the displays by dropping tickets into buckets placed next to the trees. The Day’s Jeweler’s tree, with earrings, necklaces and bracelets, was valued at more than $3,000, Sukeforth Marin said. The Chase Toys tree and gifts, of Unity, was valued at more than $4,300, she said.

Hosted by the Sukeforth family since 2015, the event initially was held at the Hathaway Creative Center on Water Street and was held for the first time this year in the former Legion hall, which is owned by Waterville businessman Bill Mitchell.

Sukeforth Marin said if the building is available next year, her family would love to hold it there again.

Winners of trees and gifts were drawn Sunday evening.

“All the winners have been notified, so they’ll come and pick up trees today and tomorrow,” Marin Sukeforth said around 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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