With the holiday season now in full gear, what could be better than a professionally decorated Christmas tree?

How about a forest of them -- along with hundreds of ornaments both simple and elegant, scores of festive wreaths and garlands and assorted other holiday decorations.

The Burr Homestead, 739 Old Post Road, will be offering that and more when the annual Fairfield Christmas Tree Festival opens to the public on Friday morning, Nov. 30.

The festival continues with public viewings Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 and 2.

The event each year benefits charities, and festival organizers this year have named the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center in Fairfield and the Cardinal Shehan Center in Bridgeport to receive proceeds.

Trees, wreaths and decorative items throughout the house will be for sale, and one-of-a-kind fresh wreaths will be made to a buyer's specifications. Visitors also may have photos taken with Santa, shop for gifts at the holiday boutique, and have a cup of hot cider.

Visitors can help another charity, Emerge Inc., by purchasing a $5 raffle ticket to win a one-of-a-kind quilt made by award-winning quilt maker Cecily Zerega.

Organizers also have lined up four special events as part of the festival -- separate tickets and reservations required -- to both spread holiday cheer and raise additional funds for the nonprofit beneficiaries.

They begin with a wine-tasting and beer-garden event to open the festival on Thursday, Nov. 29; a kids-friendly family party and dinner on Friday, Dec. 30; a gala Saturday, Dec. 1, featuring cocktails, food, auctions and dancing; and a traditional Christmas tea on Sunday, Dec. 2.

"To have everyone pull together to support the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center and the Cardinal Shehan Center is a true celebration of this community's generous spirit," festival president Moira Rachel said in a news release. "We are so fortunate to have local businesses, community leaders and many volunteers participate in this event and are looking forward to a successful year."

The Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center at 111 Beach Road in Fairfield provides comprehensive services to women.

The Cardinal Shehan Center offers recreational and alternative education programs to inner-city youth in Bridgeport.



Adults, $10; children and seniors, $5


Friday, Nov. 30: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 1: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 2: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Thursday, Nov. 29

Wine and Hops: "Share a Toast" wine tasting, beer garden and finger foods, with an opportunity to meet designers who decorated the mansion. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. $75 per person. Reservations required


Friday, Nov. 30

Children's event: "Sharing is caring" family event with face painting, arts and crafts, magic show, chicken and pasta dinner and visit by Santa. Includes a Christmas stroll to watch the lighting of the tree on the Town Hall Green. 5 to 7 p.m. $20 per person. Reservations required.

Saturday, Dec. 1

Holiday Gala: House preview, cocktails, light dinner, silent and live auctions and dancing 7 6:30 to 10 p.m. $150, $225 and $300 per person. Reservations required.

Sunday, Dec. 2

Tea party: Traditional Christmas tea catered by The Royal Tea Company and champagne auction. Noon to 2 p.m. $50 person. Reservations required.

Quilt-raffle drawing: Drawing for three prizes in a quilt raffle. Raffle tickets are $5 and winners need not be present at the drawing

Reservations and tickets for special events may be purchased online at www.fairfieldchristmastreefestival.org