By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Nov 13, 2023 at 5:56 PM

Tripoli Shiners is once again decking the halls – and then some – this holiday season with its sixth annual Feztival of Trees, assembling a brand new forest of festively decorated foliage shimmering and sparkling Saturday, Nov. 18 through Saturday, Nov. 25. 

Ho-ho-hosted at the Tripoli Shine Center, 3000 W. Wisconsin Ave., this year's Feztival of Trees is inspired by that infamous green holiday grump with cardiac concerns. But while its inspiration's heart may be three sizes too small, this year's Feztival of Trees is even bigger and better, with dozens upon dozens of trees covered with creative decorations and glorious gifts underneath them all. Best of all, you might even be able to take some of this festive fun back to your own home – all without dressing up like Santa, sneaking in and tossing all the decor up the chimney to your puppy dog assistant.

Here are six reasons why this year's Feztival of Trees, opening its doors on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 10 a.m., will be a mean one (in a good way). 

1. A forest of festive fun

Brace yourself for the cheeriest forest beyond the North Pole – and certainly a lot closer and warmer!

Each year, Feztival of Trees brings a thicket of festive foliage into its Milwaukee base, each tree mesmerizingly decorated with its own theme by a local organization, business or group. Some are based around sports, some are based around pop culture, some are based on local favorites and some just go all out gorgeous – but all a festive feast for the eyes. This year's edition will plant more than 50 terrifically decorated trees inside the Tripoli Shrine Center – and in case they weren't beamingly beautiful on their own, throughout each day, they'll all join together for a themed choreographed light show, blinking and glowing in time with a Christmas music classic.

With all that delightful holiday decor on display, the only thing missing from this winter wonderland is a snowman you can pretend is Parson Brown.

2. Win a wonderful tree (and the gifts underneath it too!)

Gazing upon the more-than-50 festive trees at the Tripoli Shrine Center and thinking, "Boy, I'd love to see that tree up and glowing in my house." Well, it just might – with all the trimmings and all the gifts underneath its branches as well, no Grinch-like heist necessary. Throughout the week-long celebration, Feztival of Trees will sell raffle tickets for each of the delightfully decorated trees creating its indoor forest, with the drawing taking place on the final Saturday of the event. You might just win the greatest gift of all this holiday season: skipping the conniption trying to string up the lights and wrap garland around on a tree yourself, and instead getting a tree pre-made to liven up your living room. (And the gifts to match!)

3. Santa Claus is coming to town

To quote the great holiday poet Buddy from the Christmas classic "Elf": SAAAANNTTAAAAA! Indeed, Santa Claus – the real one, not the one who sits on a throne of lies and not the one stealing everything, even the last can of Who Hash – will be in attendance throughout Feztival of Trees, ready to take memorable photos with kids, check his lists to see who's naughty and nice, and bring their requests back to the North Pole with him. For more info, check Feztival of Trees' website

4. More than one way to win

So you didn't win one of the wonderfully decorated star trees at the Feztival? No need to go green and start plotting Christmas thievery, as there are plenty of other chances to win at this holiday happening! Yes, in addition to the trees in the main hall, the Feztival of Trees will also showcase a 50/50 raffle as well as a $500 Wisconsin State Lottery tree and a decorated wreath raffle. Just in case walking through a winter wonderland (without having to deal with all the pesky cold winter weather) wasn't enough of a victory in its own right.

5. Wallet-friendly fun for the whole family – and for a good cause

Not to sound like a grinch, but between all the decorations and gift-buying and special seasonal movies, shows and displays, the holiday season can get expensive. Feztival of Trees, however, offers a whole forest of festive spirit for an awfully wallet-friendly price. Admission costs just $5 at the door for adults as well as zero dollars for kids 12 and younger. Best of all, it's a good price for a great cause, going toward the Tripoli Shrine and their work supporting orthopedic, burn care and other expert health care to children in need. It's enough to grow your heart three sizes – while not shrinking your bank account down three sizes. 

6. A burst of early festive spirit

Holiday music is playing over the airwaves, the lights are up and the mismatched city girl/small-town boy holiday romances are already blossoming all over TV screens – but for many, that Christmas spirit hasn't quite hit yet. If you want to go from a Scrooge to sledding down a snowy mountain, blowing a trumpet horn of festive spirit and tossing gifts to all, I prescribe a trip through Feztival of Trees! With dozens of dazzling trees celebrating the festive season, Santa taking Christmas wishes and warm meals matched only by the warmth of family and friends spending time together, even the biggest grinches around will be "fabu foray, dabu doray"-ready – and that's even if you don't win a tree or one of the event's raffles!

This year's Feztival of Trees will be open Saturday, Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; and Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. The display will be closed on Thanksgiving, but open back up on Friday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. as well as Saturday, Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

For more information, visit the Tripoli Shrine's website

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.