Special Friends of the Festival Award

First presented during the Festival’s 20th Emerald Anniversary in 2013, the Special Friend of the Festival Award was established to recognize an individual, business, or organization that has gone above and beyond to contribute to the success and growth of the Festival of Trees over several years.

These honorees have helped the Festival of Trees “Share the Magic” for 26 years!


American Training Group

American Training, Inc.

The Festival Board of Directors established its ‘Special Friend of the Festival’ Award in 2013 to recognize individuals and organizations that have contributed in significant ways to the success of the Festival of Trees. This year, the Festival was pleased to add American Training, Inc. of Andover, MA to its list of distinguished honorees.

Under the leadership of Tom Connors, President and CEO, American Training provides education, training, support, nursing, residential and transportation services in a manner that insists on respect and dignity. Each program encourages every guest, student, and resident to live more meaningful lives by showing them how much their life matters and how to get there.

“The Festival is grateful for the generosity of Tom Connors and everyone associated with American Training,” said Festival president Tom Lussier. “This award is intended to recognize and celebrate their commitment to generously support the Festival with their volunteerism and corporate resources,” he added.


Dr. Joseph Kish

Former NY State Trooper

Dr. Kish has had a special relationship with the Festival of Trees for many years. As the creator of the Festival’s “Scavenger Hunt,” he annually enables children of all ages to ‘Experience the Magic’ in a very special way!

“Almost 20 years ago, Dr. Kish suggested that a scavenger hunt might be great fun for children who visit the Festival with parents, friends, and grandparents,” noted Festival president Tom Lussier. With the help of his children, Dr, Kish created an activity which has become a favorite. Every year before the Festival opens, Dr. Kish creates a list of items to challenge and entertain young guest. According to Lussier, “Thousands of children look for the Scavenger Hunt checklist as they enter the Festival and scour the trees for each item.”

Dr. Josef J. Kish is a 1985 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and is a former N. Y. State Trooper who spent 7 years in uniformed Police work in New York State. He has a B.A. in Psychology from Ohio University.


Brooks Properties Award

Brooks Properties

Harold J. Brooks

Brooks Properties, which was founded in 1980, is currently one of the largest commercial, industrial, and development real estate service providers in Northern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.

Over 1.5 million square feet of property allows Brooks Properties the ability to meet the needs of small businesses as well as large. They take pride in their buildings and provide services to keep them well maintained. The Brooks Family and their team is committed to developing properties that will enhance the communities that support the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire by designing and constructing buildings for those seeking quality and convenience.

Since 2003, Brooks Properties has welcomed the Festival of Trees to the magnificent 8,000 square-foot atrium located at their Valley Office Park, 13 Branch Street. Their generous support, together with the assistance of their professional team, has enabled the Festival to grow and prosper.

As we look forward to the 25th Annual Festival of Trees, the Festival is pleased to recognize Brooks Properties with “Special Friend of the Festival!” The Festival is grateful for the generosity of Harold J. Brooks, the Brooks Family, and everyone associated with Brooks Properties.


cindy parnagian

Cindy Parnagian

The Party Connection, Inc.

Since 1984, The Party Connection has been meeting and exceeding the expectations of area residents, businesses, and civic groups. Whether the event is a company picnic, corporate meeting, special event, holiday party, or the Festival Trees, Cindy Parnagian and The Party Connection have the experience and resources to make it truly memorable.

Cindy and her Party Connection Team have been a special part of the Festival of Trees for many years. In addition to providing quality catering services for Festival events, they have decorated trees, donated to the Festival Auction, and generously supported the Taste of the Festival. In fact, Cindy and her team have always been there in support of the Festival and our mission of historic preservation.

The Festival is proud to honor Cindy as a “Special Friend of the Festival” and is grateful for her willingness to “Share the Magic” with all of us.


bill and kathy fitzgerald

Bill & Kathy Fitzgerald

Mann Orchards

Founded in 1887 by Charles W. Mann, Sr., Mann Orchards is the oldest business in Methuen, MA. Known for their fresh produce, delectable baked goods, and community generosity, this fourth-generation family farm is patronized by people from all over the area.

Today, Bill and Kathy Fitzgerald and their three children, Josh, Matt and Allison operate the farm and farm stand. Bill’s Mother, Ruth Mann Fitzgerald, added freshly baked apple pies to the bounty of the apple orchard and today, several pie varieties and other wonderful baked goods are staples for tables throughout the Merrimack Valley. In recent years, the modest farm stand of Charles Mann has become a modern facility which also includes homemade lunches and an ice cream stand.

The Festival of Trees honors the Fitzgerald Family for their involvement in and generosity to the Festival of Trees. From providing apple cider at the first Festival of Trees at the Nevins Library in 1994, to donating beautiful trees, auction items, and program book ads, the Fitzgerald Family is truly “Sharing the Magic.”

The Festival of Trees shares a special link to Mann Orchards family. Charles W. Mann, Sr., in addition to his excellent farming, was also the superintendent of the magnificent granite wall building of Edward F. Searles. Through the Historic Preservation Grant Program, the Festival has lovingly restored the walls built under the watchful eye of Mr. Mann.




In 2015, the Festival of Trees welcomes Macy’s for its fifth year as the sponsor of our Children’s program. Their corporate generosity provides the children who visit the Festival with puppet, magic and science shows; funds prizes for the popular "Festival Scavenger Hunt;" and for Santa’s annual visit.

The Festival of Trees is grateful for the generosity of this iconic department store and its commitment to the enrichment of children. We are proud to present them with our Special Friend of the Festival Award.


charles and mother


Charles Beauty Wellness, Inc.

Charles’ unique blend of energy, enthusiasm, vision, and creativity have always been essential ingredients in the success of the Festival of Trees. He continues to inspire others associated with the Festival to build what has become a world-class event right here in the heart of the Merrimack Valley.

From his very first masterpiece, “Mrs. Nevin’s Tree” – a beautifully decorated Victorial design filled with the handmade creations by his Mother, Mary Mello – to his most recent, “Look to the Light” – an exciting multi-media extravaganza, Charles has continued to delight Festival visitors year after year.

In response to the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, he presented, “Christmas Magic – Celebrate the American Spirit” – a red, white, and blue show-stopper that spoke of hope and patriotism. More recently, his 2011 design – “It’s a Mary Christmas” – was a tribute to his life-long creative partner – his Mother. His ever-changing craft is truly the centerpiece of the Festival – a labor of love that is one of the highlights of our holiday celebration.

We recognize and appreciate Charles for his creative, thoughtful, selfless spirit, and for sharing his own brand of magic with so many for so long.


Andy & Nancy Carace

Pest-End Exterminating and Pro-Tech Lawn Care

When Andy and Nancy Carace get involved with something, they get involved. Nancy Carace began volunteering at the Festival of Trees in 1996 and has been a constant presence throughout all these years. Their first tree, “Not a Creature Was Stirring, Not Even a Mouse,” came in 1999 – their uniquely themed trees have continued through 2012 when the presented, “Ants in my Pants – Waiting for Christmas.” In 2006, Andy and Nancy sponsored a special event as part of the Festival’s children’s program – appropriately called the “Ugly Bug Ball!” Over the years, they’ve supported other children’s programs, Appreciation and Premier Nights, and out annual program book. More importantly, like they have for so many Methuen organizations and causes, Andy and Nancy have always been there for the Festival of Trees.


Dr. Tom & Sandra Perrault

Perrault Chiropractic Office

The Perrault Family is an important part of the fabric of Methuen. Beginning in 1995, with a tree they called “Symphony in Silver,” Sandra and Tom Perrault have been an important part of every Festival of Trees. They have generously contributed to every aspect of the Festival and are a faithful presence at every Festival event. In addition to always answering the call for financial support, Sandra has been a loyal volunteer and has designed trees that have taken home awards! Over the years, they have shared their commitment to the Festival with their children and grandchildren. Tom and Sandra love Methuen – they share their enthusiasm for our community in countless ways – including being true friends and supporters of the Festival of Trees!


Mike & Maureen Pollard

The Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home

Maureen Pollard serve on the 1994 planning committee and has been a key member of the Festival leadership team ever since. She co-chaired the Festival from 1999 to 2002 and was elected its first president when the Festival of Trees became an independent 501(c)(3) organization in 2001. In addition to Maureen’s volunteerism, she and Mike have been amongst the Festival’s most generous benefactors – contributing beautiful trees, donating auction items, purchasing ads for the annual program book, and supporting other special events along the way. The Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home stands in the heart of Methuen’s historic center providing both Mike and Maureen a unique perspective on the importance of preserving our community’s rich and truly unique heritage.


Doreen Miner

Doreen Miner

Doreen Miner has played a pivotal role in the Festival of Trees since 1995. Her boundless energy, creativity, enthusiasm, and leadership, together with her talented Interstate Gymnastics team, helped to build the Festival into what it is today. Her tree, “The Nutcracker” – which was auctioned as part of the 1995 Preview Party – was the first of many unique and beautiful trees. The contributions of her students to Festive Follies and many other special events are important memories of Festivals throughout the years. When the Festival expanded from the Red Tavern to the Masonic Lodge, Doreen took on that project and transformed the Lodge into a beautiful winter wonderland. She played a key role in developing the children’s programs and it was her artistic talent that helped design a magnificent display at 13 Branch Street.