WATERVILLE — Hundreds of people filled The Elm event center Saturday for the fifth annual Sukeforth Festival of Trees.

The event, hosted by Doug and Rita Sukeforth and their family, continues next weekend and showcases more than 60 trees with thousands of dollars in decorations and gifts given by local businesses and organizations. Festival goers can buy raffle tickets in the hope of winning the trees.

Ron Howard, right, poses for a picture with his daughter Sophia-Lynn, at the 5th annual Sukeforth Family Festival of Trees at The Elm in Waterville on Saturday, November 23, 2019. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Proceeds from the $2 adult admission fee and 50 cent raffle tickets are donated to the Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area, Shriners Hospitals and Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels program.

Attendees may buy as many tickets as they wish and enter a 50-50 raffle held at 7 p.m. each day of the event.

On Dec. 1, the last day of the event, the winners of the trees are announced.

Addison Carter, 2, gets an extra candy cane from Santa Claus after a visit at the Sukeforth Festival Family of Trees at The Elm in Waterville on Saturday, November 23, 2019. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Last year’s festival drew a crowd of more than 13,000 people and raised more than $200,00o. This year’s turnout is expected to be larger, according to Annette Sukeforth Marin, daughter of the Sukeforths.

“We’re expecting to see more than 15,000 people over the course of the two weekends,” Sukeforth Marin said. “Yesterday was a little slow and Sunday’s weather is a little questionable, so we’re prepared to be really busy today.”

Sukeforth Marin, who was overseeing Saturday’s festivities, said the festival is not only a great charity event but a way to put everyone in the holiday spirit.

“It’s an event for everyone,” Sukeforth Marin said. “People can come and participate for an affordable price. It gets everyone in the holiday spirit at the same time.”

Before the festival of trees, the Sukeforth family raised money for the same three organizations with their annual Sukeforth Family BingSol Pig Roast & Auction, held at the family’s camp on the Bingham-Solon line. The family decided to start the festival of trees five years ago as a way to bring the fundraising effort closer to home.

Sukeforth Marin said this decision has generated great interest and support.

“We’ve heard nothing but good things from people who come out to the event,” Sukeforth Marin said. “Its really great.”

The festival’s hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. next Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29 and 30; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1.

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