Benzie’s Festival of Trees

Benzie’s Festival of Trees

Four years with the Orchard House decorating team

By Jennifer Povolo Flynn
Current Contributor

Activities and the feeling of being involved in the local community are very important to the health and well-being of residents in any assisted living or nursing home setting. Colby’s Orchard House—a local assisted living home, located just outside of Elberta—has activity directors and volunteers who are scheduled to sing, dance, exercise, take residents on field trips, read, play games, and do artwork. 

Artwork that the residents look forward to all year include creating decorations for the Habitat for Humanity Festival of Trees, which has been held in Benzie County for the past 19 years. This year, there will be more than 100 items created by talented decorators, including local businesses, organizations, volunteers, and Orchard House residents. 

The creativity and thoughtful imagination that is exhibited seems to improve every year. Over the past four years, some of the Orchard House decorations and themes have included an angel tree, with hand-sculpted angels; a recycled item tree, using spools, jar lids, and papers; and a bird tree, with tiny paintings of birds on wood that hung on the tree.  

Judy Duperron, Joan Miller, Susie Vigland, and Sarah Webb have been very busy working for this year’s festival and will be donating four different trees—their hard work will be on display with a vintage jewelry tree, an antique button tree, a miniature tree, and a painted seashell tree.  
When asked why they like working on these trees, their answers were all the same: 

“We like to use our talents to give to our community and are very happy to do what we can to help others!”  

And help it does.

All of the money raised during this annual event is donated to Habitat for Humanity of Benzie County. Last year was the most ever earned—more than $7,000, according to festival organizer Katherine Houston, who said that other years were closer to $5,000. Incredible, considering that the event was only held outside and online, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Colby’s Orchard House has a holistic approach to caring for the individual needs and provides all levels of care.  Please visit for more information.  

This year’s Festival of Trees will again be held at the Benzie Area Historical Museum in Benzonia. Trees and wreaths, plus table and wall decorations, can be seen indoors at the museum and also outside in the pavilion, behind the museum. Additionally, there will be photos and bidding available online through the Benzie Habitat for Humanity website at The Festival hours will be Friday, November 26, from 4-6 p.m.; Saturday, November 27, from 12-6 p.m.; and Sunday, November 28, from 12-3 p.m. 

Featured Photo Caption: Susie Vigland and Judy Duperron select jewelry and placement for a vintage jewelry-themed Christmas tree (left). Sarah Webb and Joan Miller making garland out of buttons for an antique button-themed tree (right). Photos by Jennifer Povolo Flynn. 

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