You have probably noticed by now that I'm one of those nuisance people who LOVES Christmas and the holidays and starts decorating early. So I'm excited that Missoula's Festival of Trees is still happening, even during the madness that is the pandemic year.

The Missoula Festival of Trees started in 1999  and funds generated from the festival are invested in Downtown projects and programs, like place-making projects, planning efforts and the Downtown Business Support Fund. This year's Festival will be a multi-space, multi-day Tour of Trees with your chance to win one of 10 designer-decorated trees this holiday season. Starting Friday, November 27th, your family is invited to the admission-free Tour of Trees, featuring nine Downtown businesses showcasing beautiful Christmas Trees and holiday packages valued at $1,000 each. Here are the locations:

  • Worden’s Market
  • Bike & Type
  • Berkshire Hathaway
  • Liquid Planet
  • Mood Boutique
  • One Eleven
  • Residence Inn at the Merc
  • Mary’s Mountain Cookies
  • Bitterroot Flower Shop

Festival of Trees will be open to the public starting at 10 am on Black Friday and will be the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season in Downtown. To my great delight, you'll also notice new, beautiful lighting features all over Downtown this year.

Raffle tickets are super affordable this year and will be sold for a chance to win one of the trees, funds raised will support the Missoula Downtown Foundation’s Spirit of Place campaign, dedicated to finishing the Missoula Legacy Trail, Downtown information kiosks, and additional beatification projects. Tickets range from $2-$3 each, depending on the number purchased. Get your raffle tickets here and at all tree locations, winners will be announced with trees delivered on Monday, December 7th.

Many of the trees will be viewable from outside of the businesses, and all of the hosts will have COVID-safe protocols in place, including required distancing of six feet, face coverings, and increased sanitization protocols. Public viewing of the trees is available during business hours from Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Dec. 6, and everyone is encouraged to stay in small groups with their current close contacts.

Now, about the Teddy Bear Tea Party, if you've got young children, it's an absolute holiday must-do! Rather than gathering at one location, there will be Teddy Bear Tea Kits for families to take home and enjoy. They're only $10 and include a creative art project, cookies and beverages to make, and a variety of fun items for you to enjoy together at home. Get yours here when they become available.

Small Business Saturday is November 28th and the Parade of Lights is December 5th. So Missoula will still celebrate the holidays, despite the pandemic, see you downtown!