View All Press Releases

Expanding the holiday spirit throughout downtown with Hiawatha Homes Festival of Trees

Release Date: October 30, 2020

Media Contact: Katie Adelman
Rochester Downtown Alliance
Direct: 507-216-9886


(Last updated 5:16 p.m. November 2, 2020)

Expanding the holiday spirit throughout downtown with Hiawatha Homes Festival of Trees

ROCHESTER, Minn.—Holiday cheer is being shared for all to see when Hiawatha Homes Foundation’s Festival of Trees—A Celebration of Giving spreads out its trees throughout downtown Rochester starting November 27.

The Festival of Trees is typically held at the Mayo Civic Center. With COVID-19, hosting a traditional indoor event is not possible in 2020. Instead, Festival of Trees organizers are collaborating with the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) and other community partners to showcase the festival throughout downtown Rochester. More than 40 decorated holiday trees will be featured in unused and some occupied storefronts in downtown. Dynamic lighting will showcase the uniquely decorated trees in each location. Additional trees will be placed at the Mayo Civic Center and other locations in the city.

To protect the safety of viewers, all trees will be viewable from the outdoors only, allowing the public to safely see them by foot.

“Although the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our community in many ways, it is a breath of fresh air to see the community rallying with us to ensure our holiday tradition continues,” said Crystal Landherr, Hiawatha Homes director of development and communications. “Our planning committee has been hard at work for months, and we look forward to bringing you a holiday spectacle to remember.”

The Festival of Trees is a fundraiser for Hiawatha Homes Foundation, which provides residential and community-based supportive services for individuals with developmental disabilities, physical health needs, brain injury, specialized medical needs, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and emotional and behavioral health needs.

“We believe this event will really underscore the magic of a traditional main street shopping experience during the holiday season,” said Karli McElroy, Rochester Downtown Alliance senior director of placemaking. “We and our partners feel this is a great way to support a local non-profit and have a safe opportunity to bring people downtown for holiday shopping and experience, too.”

The Rochester Downtown Alliance is providing logistical and financial support in hosting the various Festival of Trees storefront locations.

The trees will be installed and decorated before the premiere November 27. Storefronts will continue to remain decorated through December.

A map of Festival of Trees storefront locations will be available as a physical copy or a digital download.

Opportunities to sign up as a tree designer, underwriter, volunteer, or location are still open through November 1.

For more information about Hiawatha Homes’ Festival of Trees, visit or contact Crystal Landherr at

About the Rochester Downtown Alliance
The Rochester Downtown Alliance is a nonprofit corporation comprised of a broad range of people representing property owners, business leaders, the city and others with a direct stake in enhanced business and economic development conditions in the downtown district. We work together to build a vibrant downtown community. We believe a strong core positively impacts the greater city of Rochester. Through a series of special events, activities, and initiatives, we create energy, excitement, and a unique character to Downtown Rochester, Minnesota.