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The event features 20 decorated trees. (Credit: Sara Austin)

“Merry and bright” may not be the most accurate words to describe 2020, but as the holidays approach, Community Action Southold Town is hoping to spread a little Christmas spirit.

This weekend, the organization will host the inaugural North Fork Festival of Trees at Treiber Farms in Peconic. The hybrid live and virtual event will feature a spectacular display of 20 trees decorated by local artists, businesses and friends of CAST. In-person attendees can meander through the tree garden while enjoying holiday music and refreshments will be sold.

Tickets are $5, with free admission offered for children and seniors. Proceeds from the event will help CAST raise funds for food security and emergency assistance programs, which executive director Cathy Demeroto said have skyrocketed due to the pandemic.

The northforker tree will be among those on display. (Credit: Sara Austin)

“Those who join us virtually or in-person will experience the vibrant community spirit that makes the North Fork special, while helping our neighbors in need who have been faced with unprecedented challenges this year,” Ms. Demeroto said.

Since March, she said their food expenses have increased from $1,200 per week to over $7,000 per week and they continue to feel an increased demand for food and other emergency needs, including rent, electricity, oil/gas and medical costs.

Awards will be issued for the Designer’s Choice and People’s Choice trees, which will ultimately be auctioned off along with local art to the highest bidders to benefit CAST.

Many local business and community members are participating to support CAST, including Claudio’s restaurant, Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., White Flower Farmhouse, American Beech/Alex Vinash and all three North Fork Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty offices. Northforker has a tree, too.

“In a year that’s been tougher than most, this coming together of the community to help others and celebrate the spirit of the season is another example of how wonderful Greenport and the North Fork at large are,” said Claudio’s marketing director Tanya Doggwiler.

Guests are also encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys for the annual holiday toy drive to benefit area families in need.

The event will be held Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Treiber Farms, 38320 County Road 48 in Peconic. Masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed, organizers said.

Tickets may be purchased at the door, though purchasing tickets in advance is suggested. To purchase ticket or bid on an auction item, visit 4CAST.givesmart.com.

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