WILLMAR – The start of the holiday season usually brings a magical performance to the stage at The Barn Theatre, but because of COVID-19 live performances have been sidelined. And now the planned "Festival of Trees" has also been canceled.

Here is what had been planned: To help the community get into the holiday spirit in a safe environment, The Barn is launching a “Festival of Trees” event in the theater building next month.

Businesses, organizations, families, friend groups and individuals are invited to bring a tree decorated with a unique theme to the theater. Once the trees are set up, the public will be able to walk through to the theater forest during a two-week time period in December.

The event will not only spruce up the downtown area, it will also bring people – and potentially some needed money – to the theater that has not been able to generate revenue during the pandemic.

“Envision our building decorated with many Christmas trees adorned with festive lights and embellished with individualized decorations,” reads a letter signed by Naomi Lindquist, The Barn operations manager, that was sent out to theater patrons.

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Trees decorated with “your individual flair” can be set up and decorated by appointment from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 23-25 and Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Optional times can also be arranged, according to the letter, which is also posted on The Barn’s website and Facebook page.

The Barn is also seeking financial support for the Festival of Trees ranging from being a “tree supporter” for $200 to being a “tree fanatic” for a $1,500 donation.

Each tree decorator and donator will be recognized in a print publication.

Guests will be able to walk through the building Dec. 3-12 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. for a suggested donation of $5 per person. COVID safety guidelines will be followed.

The different options for donations are “extremely needed during this time of much financial stress while our productions have been put on hold,” said Lindquist.

People who intend to provide a donation or a decorated tree for the festival are asked to contact The Barn by Nov. 20 by calling 320-235-9500 or email business@thebarntheatre.com to be included in the publicized acknowledgement.