Omaha Feztival of Trees brings joy to visitors, opportunity to Shriners

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Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 10:38 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In its fifth year, the Tangier Shrine Center’s Feztival of Trees has joined the ranks of holiday traditions in the Metro.

The trees, donated and decorated by costs ranging from $500 to $5,000, have become more than symbols of the season. From them grows the possibility of service to families seeking medical care year round.

“So much of the things that we do here is transporting the kids that really need it,” Shriner Paul Adams said. “(Families) that don’t have the money to get to the hospital, that don’t have the money to pay the bill and don’t have the money to see a doctor, our goal is to see that none of those kids go without.”

His company, Woodhouse Ford, is once again donating a tree, which Adams gladly decorates each year. A visit behind the scenes to see the trees going up inside the center shows families and businesses getting into the holiday season, even though Thanksgiving is a week away and Christmas more than a month.

“We’ve been here about six hours today,”’s Megan Vavra said of their “Candyland Tree.”

“I actually started the tree-topper a couple days ago,” Vavra said. “I started shopping back in July... Its kinda become one of our family traditions.”

Even a jolly old elf, whose identity we promised to keep a secret, was getting a sneak peek at the 58 trees set to shine Thanksgiving week.

“You pay $2 to get in, and you come in and buy raffle tickets,” Feztival of Trees coordinator Jim Hirl said. “You can buy one or you can 500, we don’t care, but you put them in the little slots... and you try to win the tree.”

Marla Snyder was finishing up decorations on the “McTree” for her company, Leonard Management McDonalds. She said its cool to see that everyone has a chance to win.

“They’ll select a lucky winner, and the winner receives everything you see with the tree,” Snyder said. “The tree and everything that’s around the tree.”

Adams has pulled out all the stops this year on the Woodhouse Ford of Omaha “Silver Tree”, including two bottles of Cristal champagne.

“This tree and everything you see around it is worth $3,500, $2,000 of it in cash, that we’re gonna give to somebody that gives one dollar,” he said.

According to Hirl, nearly 20,000 people attended in 2021. The event opens to the public Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m., with hours daily, except for Thanksgiving, through Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Tangier Shrine Center, 2823 S. 84th Street