Elliot Drew and Anita Sutherland get Christmas trees ready for the Festival of Trees at McLean Mill. Each of the trees will be decorated by different Alberni Valley businesses. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Elliot Drew and Anita Sutherland get Christmas trees ready for the Festival of Trees at McLean Mill. Each of the trees will be decorated by different Alberni Valley businesses. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

McLean Mill lights up for the holidays

Festival of Trees returns to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital

McLean Mill will be lighting up for the holiday season with a Festival of Trees in support of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The national historic site is bringing back its Heritage Light-Up event for three weekends in December: Dec. 3, 4 and 5, Dec. 10, 11 and 12 and Dec. 17, 18 and 19.

The event will have a timed entry system and reservations.

“Simply so we can manage the number of people flowing through the site,” said Anita Sutherland, the mill’s director of operations and opportunities.

Registration for the event is free, and vaccine passports will not be required for the event because it is “primarily” outdoors, said Sutherland. Masks will be required for the indoor portion.

As of Monday, Nov. 22, the mill had just under 700 reservations for all three weekends.

The Festival of Trees will take place in the mill’s Grand Hall, where more than a dozen trees will be lit up and decorated by different local businesses. The public can vote on their favourite tree by donation, either in person at the mill or online at www.mcleanmill.ca/festival-of-trees. All donations will go to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. The organization with the winning tree will win a gift card from Better Buy Port Alberni.

Outside of the grand hall, there will be complimentary hot chocolate provided by Tim Hortons and Christmas lights will be on throughout the site so people can walk through.

“We want people to come and enjoy a nice walk outside and look at the lights,” said Sutherland.

There will be live music every night and Santa will be on site for photo opportunities. McLean Mill will have a photographer, but people can also use their own cameras or phones to take pictures. The mill gift shop will also be open, with maximum capacity limits.

McLean Mill attempted to hold the Festival of Trees and Heritage Light-Up last year, but it had to be scaled down to a virtual event only due to COVID-19 restrictions. Despite this, the event still raised more than $800 for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

READ MORE: McLean Mill Christmas event raises more than $800 for BC Children’s Hospital

“This year we were able to bring it back on a bigger scale,” said Sutherland. “We’re hoping we can add more and more each year.”

For more information about the event, or to book a reservation, visit www.mcleanmill.ca.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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McLean MillPort Alberni

 

McLean Mill Historic Site is all lit up for the holiday season. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

McLean Mill Historic Site is all lit up for the holiday season. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)