In 1994, volunteers raising funds for the restoration of the 1830’s Tenney Gate House conceived of the idea of holding a Christmas fundraiser featuring fully decorated Christmas trees, to help pay for the expensive restoration and preservation costs associated with this project.
The volunteers who were part of the Tenney Gate House Restoration Committee were successful in saving the Gate House from destruction. The tree festival they started showcased 17 trees and raised a modest $3,100.00. The Festival of Trees is now at capacity displaying 240 trees and wreaths in 2014. The success of The Festival of Trees raised the necessary funding for the restoration of the Gate House and today provides grants to historic preservation projects throughout the Merrimack Valley.
Now in its 24th year, this Methuen event is the largest such Festival of Trees in New England and one of the largest in the country. Over 30,000 people from over 388 cities and towns in Massachusetts have visited the annual event. Attendees have come from all the New England States, as well as points as distant as Texas, California and even Great Britain!
Trees from the Festival of Trees have graced the cover of the Boston Globe Magazine and have been featured in Northshore Magazine, Merrimack Valley Magazine, The Boston Globe and many additional newspapers and other media outlets., The Festival has been featured on Boston’s Channel 5 Chronicle show, Boston television stations 4 and 7, New England Cable News (NECN), and New Hampshire Channel 9.