Breathing Easy: A Winter Wonderland That's Good For Your Health

The Lung Association’s Festival of Trees is a unique kick off to the festive season here in Sault Ste. Marie. It has become a city wide tradition and 2013 marks the 15th year that the Lung Association has proudly organized this wonderful fundraiser. It’s an event like no other. It takes days to set up and be perfected, but once the empty boxes have been stored, the ballroom at the Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront becomes a Christmas wonderland. The beautifully decorated trees get a lot of praise from the crowd as they walk around the cozy room. Event goers can’t help but be in the Christmas spirit once they have left.

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The community support is the glue that holds this event together. Many businesses and organizations jump at the opportunity to be a part of this popular event. At other events the Lung Association holds throughout the year, Festival of Trees always surfaces, rather it be in March or July. The Ontario Lung Association has many community office spread throughout the province. Some are famous for golf tournaments, garden events, hockey tournaments and in Sault Ste. Marie we are famous for the Festival of Trees. It has become an event distinctive to Sault Ste. Marie.

We are forever grateful to our sponsors, supporters and organizations who participate, but we sometimes forget about the people who dedicate their time for nothing in return. These people are our volunteers. We have over 100 volunteers from start to finish. Day one we have over 30 volunteers come to help set up and fluff the trees and let me tell you fluffing the trees is very time consuming. The volunteers make this day a lot easier as we have to unload and set up over 50 trees.

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There are two volunteers in particular the Lung Association has that make this event extra special. La-Na Fragomeni and Ora Mae James are two very devoted women. Last year was my first year with Lung Association, I started in October and Festival of Trees was just over a month later. The whole event was not clear to me until I saw the finish product. On the Wednesday night before we opened, after all the boxes were put away and the last minute adjustments were made, I sat there is disbelief. A few days earlier, the ballroom looked like complete chaos. Boxes, trees and decorations were everywhere. I thought to myself, “How could this place turn into a beautiful Christmas wonderland in just a few days.” The answer was sitting right across from me. La-Na has been in charge of site design for 15 years. She has a knack for decorating and a prestige way of handling chaos. She always has a “don’t worry” attitude, something Grace, Volunteer and Fund Development Coordinator, and I need a dose of during the event. She works very closely with Grace weeks before the event choosing trees at Canadian Tire for organization’s desire. She also helps the participants choose decorations and gives expert advice on how to decorate.

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Opening day at Festival is always exciting but it takes a lot of people to make it runs smoothly. These people are the ones you can find selling tickets at the front door, the greeters as you enter and the people selling raffle and auction tickets. Over the four day event, there is a schedule of each volunteer position and we are lucky to have Ora Mae organize the volunteers for the past 15 years. Ora is a retired teacher and she gathers her fellow retirees and friends to help out at festival. She is very detailed oriented and puts everyone else before herself. Her background in teaching helps us organize and stay focused on the task at hand. Amidst the commotion she is always there to lend a helping hand, doing more than she needs to. Her dedication to the Lung Association is tremendous. It warms my heart to know there are people like her in this world.

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Some people may think it’s the trees, lights and decorations that make this event so much fun and successful, but I really think it is the people like La-Na and Ora. Without their dedication and support, this event would not be possible. It takes unique people to dedicate so much of their time to help an organization fulfill its goals. Grace and I are very thankful for La-Na and Ora’s service over the past 15 years. You will have your chance to thank them in person when the doors open for Fifteenth Festival of Trees on Thursday, November 21st at 7 p.m.

 Visit for more information on things to see and do in Sault Ste. Marie!

Courtney Dubas, born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie. Graduated from Cambrian College in 2012 with an advanced diploma in Public Relations. Started working at the Lung Association in October 2012 as the Special Events Coordinator. 2013 marks my second year organizing Sault Ste. Marie’s prestigious Christmas event.

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Events Calendar

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Bon Soo Winter Carnival02/07/2014 12:00:00 AM02/16/2014 12:00:00 AM
Shadows of the Mind Film Festival02/26/2014 12:00:00 AM03/04/2014 12:00:00 AM
Mistletoe and Holly12/20/2013 07:30:00 PM12/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
Group of Seven Awkward Moments11/17/2013 09:00:00 AM01/04/2014 12:00:00 AM
Ice Fishing Derby with Professional Angler Robert Laframboise03/09/2014 12:00:00 AM12/31/1969 07:00:00 PM
Dora the Explorer Live!12/18/2013 12:00:00 AM12/31/1969 07:00:00 PM
ELVIS "1st Diamond Jim Mem Tim E Yes Men"03/08/2014 07:00:00 AM03/08/2014 10:00:00 AM
Lilac & Lavender Festival05/31/2014 12:00:00 AM06/01/2014 12:00:00 AM
Musicfest XX: Bratwurst, Beer & Heethoven06/08/2014 12:00:00 AM06/08/2014 12:00:00 AM
The Great Tugboat Race06/26/2014 12:00:00 AM06/30/2014 12:00:00 AM
Lobsterfest06/27/2014 12:00:00 AM06/27/2014 12:00:00 AM
Interntional Bridge Walk06/28/2014 12:00:00 AM06/28/2014 12:00:00 AM
Group of Seven in Algoma10/02/2014 12:00:00 AM10/26/2014 12:00:00 AM
Carlos Núñez10/03/2014 08:00:00 PM10/03/2014 10:00:00 PM
Nuit Blanche10/04/2014 07:00:00 PM10/04/2014 10:00:00 PM
Ron James10/09/2014 08:00:00 PM10/09/2014 10:00:00 PM
Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap Tour10/14/2014 08:00:00 PM10/14/2014 10:00:00 PM
Redefining our Defiant Spirits10/18/2014 02:00:00 PM10/18/2014 04:00:00 PM
A Novel Dinner10/18/2014 06:30:00 PM10/18/2014 08:30:00 PM
Chef Michael Smith: East Coast Kitchen Party10/24/2014 08:00:00 PM10/24/2014 10:00:00 PM
Chef Michael Smith talks Family Meals10/25/2014 01:00:00 PM10/25/2014 03:00:00 PM
The Beaton Family of Mabou10/25/2014 08:00:00 PM10/25/2014 10:00:00 PM
Cirque Du Soleil Dralion10/29/2014 07:30:00 PM10/29/2014 10:00:00 PM
Brad Paisley11/13/2014 06:30:00 PM11/13/2014 10:30:00 PM
The Grand Slam of Curling National11/19/2014 12:00:00 AM09/23/2014 12:00:00 AM
The Muddy Moose Charge09/13/2014 09:00:00 AM12/31/1969 07:00:00 PM
50 Years of the Beatles - Revolver09/13/2014 08:00:00 PM12/31/1969 07:00:00 PM
Brahms Piano Hour09/14/2014 03:00:00 PM09/14/2014 04:00:00 PM
Group of Seven Train Event09/19/2014 12:00:00 AM09/21/2014 12:00:00 AM
19th Annual Bushplane Days Festival09/19/2014 12:00:00 AM09/21/2014 12:00:00 AM
Yuk Yuks-Pasta and Laughter09/19/2014 05:30:00 PM09/19/2014 09:00:00 PM
Searchmont Music Festival09/19/2014 06:00:00 PM09/20/2014 05:00:00 PM
Music, Magic & Mayhem09/19/2014 08:00:00 PM09/19/2014 10:30:00 PM
Sylvan Circle Tour09/20/2014 09:00:00 AM09/20/2014 05:00:00 PM
Dinner & Comedy Show09/20/2014 06:00:00 PM09/20/2014 09:00:00 PM
Travis Tritt09/18/2014 07:00:00 PM09/18/2014 10:00:00 PM
George Canyon "Decade of Hits" Tour09/26/2014 08:00:00 PM09/26/2014 10:30:00 PM
A Night in Old Vienna09/27/2014 08:00:00 PM09/27/2014 11:00:00 PM
Stuart Mclean and the Vinyl Cafe Live10/05/2014 03:00:00 PM10/05/2014 05:00:00 PM
Ziggy Marley - Fly Rasta Tour10/06/2014 07:30:00 PM10/06/2014 09:30:00 PM
Maestro Ustad Shafaat Khan – Music From India10/09/2014 07:30:00 PM10/09/2014 09:00:00 PM
2nd Annual Java Jamboree, Coffee Tasting Festival10/18/2014 12:00:00 AM10/18/2014 12:00:00 AM
All Hallow's Eve Sault Ste. Marie Premier10/23/2014 07:00:00 PM10/23/2014 09:00:00 PM
Gob at the Rockstar10/29/2014 07:00:00 PM10/29/2014 09:00:00 PM
Toopy and Binoo: Fun and Games11/03/2014 06:30:00 PM11/03/2014 08:00:00 PM
The Energy Opportunities Conference11/04/2014 02:00:00 PM11/06/2014 12:00:00 AM