LAKE CITY — Downtown Lake City was filled with life as community members flocked to the city park to partake in this year’s Festival of the Pines.
In celebrating the 42nd annual Festival of the Pines on Saturday, 31 non-profits gathered in the park to decorate Christmas trees, 18 kindergartners participated in the Lumber Jack and Lumber Jill Pageant and local vendors gathered in the city park.
“We were only expecting to have around six non-profits this year and we ended up with 31,‘ said Lake City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michelle Reichert. “Every person that has come up to me has told me that they have enjoyed every second of the day from the pageant in the morning to the chili cookoff that is going on in a little bit and that is really great to hear.‘
Moving through the sea of decorated Christmas trees, past the pageant stage, festival-goers could shop through a variety of booths all from local vendors specializing in things such as metalwork and jewelry
“We wanted to keep the market to local vendors,‘ she said. “A lot of them, this is their first time showing their goods this year. With so much getting canceled over the summer, we wanted to make sure our local vendors got the chance to show off and sell their goods.‘
At the end of the day, when the vendors packed up and the non-profits cleared out, Reichert said that while this year was more successful than the chamber could have imagined, the best part was being able to bring the community together and show support for one another amid all the shutdowns and cancellations due to COVID-19.
“This year went above and beyond our expectations,‘ Reichert said. “We wanted to give the community a chance to come together and have some fun, especially with everything that has been going on, and we did just that.‘