Christmas Tree Festival brings back sparkle

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St Conan’s Christmas Tree Festival was welcomed back by 1,500 visitors over the weekend.

Organisers making a comeback after the pandemic struck gold with 50 trees going on display, decorated by community groups, schools, businesses and creative types going solo.

It was pals Pat McLeod from Lochawe and Betty Jamieson from Dalmally whose Twelve Knits of Christmas won the most votes as the festival’s favourite tree.

In second place was the Argyll Wellbeing Hub’s WellBeing Tree and in third place was Christmas Magic by Rosie Campbell-Preston who conjured up a shimmering display of gold and silver baubles seemingly suspended in mid-air between two of the kirk’s stone columns.

Liz Mackay from Friends of St Conan’s Kirk said: ‘The general feeling was that everyone was pretty glad that the festival was back. They missed it last year.

‘A lot of visitors told us it has become part of their festive tradition now, which was nice to hear, and others said for them it marked the start of Christmas locally.

‘It was very well received and all our hard work making sure we could keep visitors and volunteers safe with our layout and one-way system worked well. We had a constant flow of people coming in over the three days but it never felt crowded or too busy. We had about 1,500 visitors, numbers were down a bit on 2019 but we expected that.’

Mrs Mackay also praised the support from contributors, saying: ‘The quality of the trees was outstanding, people put a huge amount of imagination into their designs. There were a lot of unusual concepts – very inventive and clever, and made with great skill. Some were funny and made you laugh, others were made with great skill and there were those that were thought-provoking and a sign of the times, with some of their trees concentrating on environmental matters and the importance of mental health and well-being. It was a lovely mixture,’ she said.

Generous donations of homebaking and prizes for the raffle were also greatly received.

Organisers are still totting up the donations from the three-day festival but some of the funds will go towards lighting up the path from the top of the garden down to the kirk.

To watch a video from the festival click here: