NEW PORT RICHEY — Finding the right Christmas tree isn’t always easy. Decorating it can also be difficult. Instead, the 12th Annual Good Samaritan Festival of Trees & Winter Wonderland may just have one calling your name.
With more than 40 decorated trees and wreaths presented for bidding, the annual event returns from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19 at Kontos Hall, 9426 Little Road, New Port Richey. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.com at $30 per individual or $50 per couple, $5 for youth between 6 and 12, and children under 5 are admitted free.
“People enjoy kicking off the holiday season,” said Mike Singer, executive director of Good Samaritan Health Clinic of Pasco. “I think they enjoy the spectacle of seeing these custom decorated trees over the years.”
Each year presents an array of uniquely decorated Christmas trees and wreaths by sponsoring businesses. One year saw a Darth Vader tree, a Barbie tree, Hot Wheels tree, a Tampa Bay Lightning tree, military tree, and a traditional angel and winter scenes tree.
Some trees can be decorated according to requests, but keep in mind, trees go to bidding. Another option is to purchase the tree in advance online. Pictures of this year’s trees and wreaths are currently posted. All trees and wreaths will be delivered after the event.
The Festival of Trees & Winter Wonderland will also include light hors d’oeuvres, picture opportunities with Santa Claus, and holiday vendors just in time to accomplish some early Christmas shopping.
Proceeds raised from the festival go toward benefiting Good Samaritan Health Clinic of Pasco and the patients involved. Good Samaritan is a free health clinic designed to meet the needs of Pasco residents who are without any health insurance and are under the federal poverty level. The clinic provides free primary health care, labs, prescriptions and exams.
The nonprofit opened its doors in 1990, starting small in an extra office from a doctor’s clinic, then a double wide trailer donated by Pasco Schools to its current location, a former oncology clinic at 5334 Aspen St., New Port Richey.
“We’ve had a lot of challenges over our 31 years, but we’ve grown from an all-volunteer staff to a small administrative staff and one nurse practitioner,” Singer said. “We’re still supplemented with hundreds of volunteers a year. It feels good to come work here every day. Even on our most challenging days, I still know that end of the day we’ve improved the lives of people. We get them to be as healthy as they can be.”
The clinic helps improve patients’ blood pressure and treats asthma, depression and anxiety. The goal is to help make people feel better and keep them out of emergency rooms. The clinic sees more than 300 patients a year, Singer added. It’s events like the Festival of Trees that help keep the clinic free to those in need.
For more information, visit www.goodsamclinic.org.