This week marked the start of Woodcock Nature Center‘s highly-anticipated Wreath Festival, open now through Dec. 8. The popular event pairs the decorating of balsam wreaths with relaxing with friends by a roaring fire in Woodcock’s picturesque pavilion.

Tickets for the annual event went on sale in October and sold-out within minutes. The festival welcomes 1,000 guests every holiday season, most of them women, and raises over $75,000 for the nature center’s programs in environmental education.

“Our staff [worked hard] gathering decorating items, stringing holiday lights, and setting the stage for a festive celebration; it’s no small feat,” notes executive director Lenore Herbst. “But, Wreath Festival supports operations at the nature center in a huge way. It allows us to care for our resident teaching animals and grounds year-round; it helps make our outreach programs and camp scholarships possible; and, this year income is also being directed toward the development of our new playground.”

In addition to the popular Wreath Festival event fundraiser, Woodcock Nature Center is running a traditional year-end fundraising campaign by mail and on its website and encourages everyone in the community to support the nature center in a meaningful way.

“We are so fortunate to have this incredible 150-acre nature center right here in Wilton and Ridgefield,” continues Herbst. “And, in case you haven’t noticed, Woodcock is growing fast. We’re working hard behind the scenes on strategies, partnerships, and programs that will allow us to provide even more to our community in the coming years, but we cannot do it alone. We welcome donations of any amount to our annual fund campaign.”

Ticketholders can additionally support the nature center through a fundraising raffle held during the Wreath Festival, which offers chances to win wonderful prizes, including unique Woodcock experiences such as birthday parties, camp weeks and more. General donations in support of the nature center can also be made at any time by mail or on the Woodcock Nature Center website.

For those still wishing to get in on the action, all ages are welcome at a “Family Fun” open house wreath decorating event on Dec. 8 between 10 a.m.-4 p.m.. The event includes hot cocoa and cookies and the opportunity to make a wreath with family members of all ages. Organizers ask that large groups planning to attend make a reservation in advance.

All Wreath Festival dates (with the exception of the “Family Fun” day) are for attendees 21-and-over. Advance ticket purchase is required. While most events are sold out, interested parties may contact Woodcock to be placed on a waiting list. Tickets are non-refundable and subject to additional fees. For more information please visit the Woodcock Nature Center website.