While on a business trip in Boston, David Scheuermann saw the Fez-stival of Trees and decided it’d be an impressive replacement for the Shrine Circus that had been the organization’s major fundraiser in the U.S. and Canada since 1906.
To be called Shriners’ St. Charles Parish Holiday Fez-stival, it would be the first event of its kind for the parish.
Scheuermann, a member of the Shriners’ board of directors, said the local festival will be like the Shriner Boston event with businesses that donate a decorated Christmas tree with a minimum value of $250 in gifts. For example, the Home Depot tree had tools worth that much or more and the child-themed trees would have toys.
People buy raffle tickets and place them with the tree they hope to win. He’s hoping the local event could feature 60 to 100 trees.
Scheuermann plans to hold the fez-stival on Dec. 13 – 22 at the Jerusalem Shrine Center, 1940 Ormond Blvd., Destrehan.
The event will include the trees, as well as a marketplace resembling a German marketplace where festivals are held, he said. Plans are to have as many as 100 vendors with food, crafts and vendors.
“We’ll have some main attractions with one being a live nativity scene, which will also include a petting zoo, and camel and pony rides,” he said. It also will include a 2,000- to 3,000 square-foot ice skating rink with size depending on sponsorship, as well as live reindeer.
Scheuermann said Parish President Larry Cochran has endorsed the event and will help get sponsors, as well as help promote it as a parish event.
Entertainment will include the Shrine Jazz Orchestra performing daily with Christmas music, as well as area school choirs and bands.
Admission and parking will be free. Minimal charges will be made on ice skating and the petting zoo, and visitors can shop at the marketplace.
Proceeds will benefit Shriner programs such as supporting hospitals by providing patient transportation to hospitals and holding patient parties at holidays. Shriners provide all the Christmas presents at these parties.