STERLING, Illinois -
Northland Mall looks more like the North Pole these days. That's because the 2018 Festival of Trees is open through Sunday, November 18.
More than 80 decorated trees lead the way to a celebration in Sterling. After 29 years in the community, Festival of Trees is off to a colorful start.
"They put their heart and soul into them," said Executive Director Emily Taylor. "Often times, trees are in memory or honor of someone that has maybe passed on."
The trees come in all shapes and sizes. Volunteers put the 'wow' factor into each design.
"It's magical," said Sterling Rotarian Christy Zeprezauer. "The holidays, Christmastime, it's my favorite time of year."
This Festival of Trees is a major fundraiser for Rock River Hospice & Home. Each tree evokes warm memories from the past and present.
"You can tell by each tree all the love and the thought that goes behind them," Zeprezauer said.
A silent auction will take place all week. Admission is free. It's a chance to take home a festival selection and be part of a holiday tradition that keeps going strong.
"Whether it's contributing to a basket or or auction item, or coming out to help decorate, set-up or tear down, our volunteers are tremendous," Taylor said.
There will also be a country store and entertainment throughout the festival at Northland Mall.