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Thousands of people attend the Festival of Trees event at MetraPark

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Billings, Montana – On Saturday, hundreds of families gathered at MetraPark to honor a worthwhile cause. The Festival of Trees, The Family Tree Nurturing Center’s largest annual fundraiser, attracted a sizable turnout from the Billings community.

“We came here to see the trees and this one was dancing,” said Billings resident John Cash on Saturday.

The Festival of Trees is centered on family for Cash and his family.

“We want to make sure that they always know that no matter what they’re doing, that we as a family can at least support them,” Cash said.

The Family Tree Nurturing Center’s main message is this.

“Our whole intent with The Family Tree Nurturing Center is to support parents and to prevent child abuse and neglect,” said the executive director of the nonprofit, Bill Kennedy.

Since 1985, the company has been assisting families. They provide support for parents to succeed throughout the year, including parenting seminars, home visits, respite care, and other services. Without The Festival of Trees, none of it would be possible.

“As we offer the service and help support families, we are in need year-round for donations to keep the doors open,” Kennedy said.

More than 200 volunteers, including Rayna Harmon, a junior at West High School, helped make the four-day event a success as the Billings community rose to the occasion.

“It’s for the kids, you know. Like the smiles, I was over there taking pictures with Santa, and you give them a candy cane and they’re so happy,” Harmon said.

In addition to leaving the festival with a grin on their faces, the 16-year-old hopes that festivalgoers will carry the message of The Family Tree Nurturing Center with them.

“I think as a community and as adults, it’s our job to look out for those children who may not have what so many of us are blessed with,” said Harmon.

 

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