Help wanted: Tuesday volunteers for tree festival

By Gary Scott on November 9, 2015 at 1:45pm

File photo of a previous Festival of Trees event in Jacksonville.

Organizers of a Jacksonville holiday tradition need some help tomorrow setting up their event.

The Festival of Trees, which is happening later this month, normally gets help from Illinois Department of Corrections prisoners working at the boot camp facility in White Hall in moving furniture to the Masonic Temple on West College Avenue from a storage area.

But organizer Terry Maggart says that’s not happening this year.

“We had everything lined up, made our normal calls the day before we needed people, called down to the boot camp, and we were informed they were short of staff, and they had two or three other jobs they had to go, and we were not one of them, and so they said they couldn’t get to us until next week,” he says.

“Unfortunately, we need to have that place ready to go so the trees can be put up by Friday.”

Usually event organizers get six to eight prison camp workers, and Maggart says they’re looking for at least that many people.

“The more we’ve got, the less work it is, and if you can only stay for an hour, that’s great. You can come up and help us move the furniture at the Masonic Temple, that would be great,” says Maggart.

“If you’ve got time to take off and go out and help us load the stuff in our little warehouse, it goes in through a horse-trailer-type thing, we load that up, bring all that back, the boxes with the tree stands on them, things like that, then it comes back and it’s taken upstairs into the temple, where we display the trees. And then, we’re done,” he continues.

Maggart says refreshments will be provided to anyone who volunteers to help. He estimates it will take several hours and is asking people to meet at the Masonic Temple tomorrow between 8:30 and 9 a-m at 345 West College.

The Festival of Trees runs Friday through Sunday, November 20th to the 22nd.