A wonderland of trees will light up the Fermata Club starting today at noon until Sunday at the second Festival of Trees.

Christmas trees, wreaths, mantel garland and gingerbread houses – all decorated with their own themes – will be on display and available for auction to benefit the Aiken Area Council on Aging.

“We had over 40 items on display for sale last year, and we have about 50 this year,” said Sandra Terry, festival board member. “You will find dazzling lights, beautiful trees and a host of unique items to see and begin your holiday shopping. Everything will be exquisitely decorated and all will be available for purchase.”

Sweet Treats, a Christmas tree with branches adorned with a stuffed gingerbread doll, ribbon candies and peppermint candies, is one of the trees that will be at the festival. It is sponsored and decorated by Women of Woodside, who have backed the AACOA for years.

The silent auction will go throughout all five days, but most items will have a buy-it-now price attached.

The festival will be open from noon to 6 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 6 p.m. on Thursday and noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 and can be purchased at the door.

The festival will offer more than just sightseeing of trees and wreaths.

Today, the doors will open early for seniors with a Senior Stroll from 9 to 11 a.m. at a discounted price of $4.

Later today, Festival Unplugged will have food, like sliced beef and chicken breast and vegetables, and live music. Also “area media all stars” from news outlets such as Aiken Standard, skirt! magazine, Augusta Chronicle and Channel 12 will compete to make the best wreath during the All Media Challenge, also known as the Wreath War, Terry said. Then people can pay $1 and vote during the week for their favorite creation. Tickets for the Festival Unplugged are $45.

On Saturday from 10 to 11:30 a.m., children can come eat egg biscuits, ham, doughnuts and fruit with Santa during Breakfast with Santa. Pictures with Santa can be taken with personal cameras. Tickets for those 13 and older are $15 and $10 for children 3 to 12. Children younger than 3 are admitted for free.

Tickets must be purchased in advance for the Festival Unplugged and Breakfast for Santa and can be bought at Floyd & Green, Plum Pudding, Tea Garden Gifts, Barbara Sue Brodie NeedleWorks and AACOA.

Hot cocoa and cookies will be handed out to festival-goers.

AACOA plans on having volunteers, staff and board members present at the festival, Scott Murphy, council executive director, said.

“The festival is great,” he said. “Anything to bring awareness to needs of seniors of Aiken County.”

Currently, they serve around 60 to 70 people. The number has increased, due to the current economy, making the festival an important fundraiser to the council.

“I like to encourage everyone to come out,” Murphy said. “The kids really love it. … There's a lot of events. It's certainly a family event.”

The festival is the biggest fundraiser for AACOA and brings in money for the council's meal programs.

Want to Go?

What: Festival of Trees

When: Today through Sunday

Where: Fermata Club at 841 Whiskey Road

Cost: $5 general admission at the door

For more information: Call 648-6493