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Camp Ederís 6th Annual Christmas Tree Festival

Danielle Ryan

(11/28) With one of the warmest Novembers in the region anyone can remember, it might feel counterintuitive to be anticipating Christmas trees, hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies. At Camp Eder, that is precisely what the staff and volunteers are doing. They are busy elves working hard to prepare for the 6th Annual Christmas Tree Festival, a community event that celebrates the birth of Christ.

Designed as a "Celebration of the Birth of Christ" the Camp Eder Christmas Tree Festival offers a place where families and individuals can experience an evening of refuge from the many things that pull our attention away from the true reason for the season. Camp Eder, located on Mt. Hope Rd in Fairfield, warmly invites neighbors, friends, and families to join in the festivities December 9 - 11, 5 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. each evening. As part of the Christmas Tree Festival this year, a special breakfast brunch is offered on Saturday, December 10th from 9 a.m. Ė 12 p.m. In addition to great food, youíll have the opportunity to craft a unique Nativity, learn to fold napkins to look like a Christmas Tree, and make a special card to send our military serving over seas.

This tradition began in 2011 with an idea to offer Christmas trees for folks to decorate and display in Geigley Lodge at Camp Eder. Each tree is sponsored by an organization, group, or individual, which they can decorate with a theme of their choice. Attendees can vote on their favorite tree by purchasing tickets for one dollar each. Every vote counts, so be sure to make your favorite known when you view these creatively adorned trees. Funds received from the ticket sales for the tree decorating contest benefit the variety of programs happening throughout the year at Camp Eder.

Numerous family-fun activities include: horse-drawn carriage rides, live music featuring local artists, a tree decorating contest, cookie/bake sale, light refreshments, carol sing-alongs, a turkey dinner with all the fixings and thousands of Christmas lights on display! Camp Eder also boasts beautiful walking creek side trails for those who want to take the celebration out of doors. Each evening, guests will hear the bell ring at 8 p.m., signaling the start of a serene candlelight service in a semi-shelter outdoor pavilion. The service closes with an A Capella "Silent Night."

Feel even more a part of the event by donating new or gently used childrenís clothing for newborn to 6 years old to Godís Closet, a clothing pantry run by Childrenís Aid Society of New Oxford. Also, guests can bring non-perishable food items for the Fairfield Food Pantry at the Fairfield Mennonite Church. Childrenís clothing and canned goods can be delivered at any time during the Christmas Tree Festival, or arrangements can be made at the Camp office to drop off items at any other time.

Camp Eder Christmas Tree Festival is a delightful way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and is open to people of all ages. Mark your calendar now and plan to come to Camp Eder on one, two, or all three evenings, December 11 -13. Grab a hot cup of Camp Eder cocoa, find a cozy spot by the fire, listen to Christmas carols and stories, take in the wonders and beauty, reminisce with friends, and recall the birth of Christ, the true meaning of Christmas. For more information, call the Camp Eder office at 717-642-8256 or visit www.campeder.org.

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