California, MD — The lights are shining bright, and the building is filled with warmth. It’s the annual Hospice of St. Mary’s Festival of Trees and it’ll be held this year Saturday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (SMHEC).

In a way the event reflects what Hospice does – provide light, hope and warmth to the families and friends of the residents of the Hospice House in Callaway. The caring staff and volunteers provide “physical, psychological and spiritual care and comfort to those who are terminally ill; and to their families. Hospice also offers grief support to families and community members who have experienced a loss,” according to a release on the Festival of Trees.

The festival is an important part of the not-for-profit organization’s annual fundraising effort. Last year the festival raised $34,000. Hospice also holds a successful annual walk/run and receives donations throughout the year from individuals and community organizations, such as the recent donation of $5,000 from the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Chapter 969.

This year the halls and rooms of the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center will be filled with 27 trees and 23 wreaths. Those who build the trees and wreaths can have them delivered to them, or they can donate them to Hospice, which picks a recipient.

The Festival of Trees is much more than walking around SMHEC and viewing the trees and wreaths, For instance, children can enjoy pictures with Santa, a holiday hand puppet make-it-take-it workshop (for $10 each) and Santa’s Secret Shop where they can purchase gifts for their families.

Participants must register in advance for classes at (within Art Buzz Kids and Paint it Forward December calendars).

Adults are invited to participate in a live wreath make-it-and-take-it workshop (for $25 each).

There also will be plenty of entertainment. Here’s the schedule
10 a.m. – Billy Breslin
10 a.m. – Flute Choir
11 a.m. — David Norris
12 Noon – David Flood
1 p.m. – Barber Shop
2 p.m. – Gospel Choir
3 p.m. – Boot Scooters

You can also shop ‘til you drop at the Hospice Market and bid on silent auction items with bidding closing at 4 p.m.

Admission to the Hospice of St. Mary’s Festival of Trees is $5 for adults; $3 for senior 60 and over; $1 for children ages 4-14; and children under 3 are free. Make-it-and-take-it workshops are separately priced.

Southern Maryland Higher Education Center is located at 42319 Airport Road in California.

For more Information go to or call 301-994-2023.

Contact Dick Myers at