The news was released last night via an immediate press release on the Kora Shrine Facebook Page they that year they will no longer be selling raffles online for their FEZtival of Trees 2021. According to the release, Chairperson, Noble Bernie McAllister,  said, "The original plan was to complement the reduced attendance with online sales to our supportive public would have that safe alternative to enjoy 'Maine's Premier Holiday Festival' during COVID".

Dan G Channel via Youtube
Dan G Channel via Youtube

This decision has saddened local fans and followers of the event. Tickets were made available by online purchase for the raffle due to the pandemic that struck last year and all were hoping it would continue again this year, however, that is not the plan. This law was created under emergency legislation and was put into effect during Covid.

This year, the event will be held entirely in person and what was desired was for the online tickets to continue so that more people could join in on the fun. The reason for this change according was due to the inability of Kora to comply with state requirements for online sales of raffle tickets.

According to an article put out by WMTW News Channel 8, it was said by Kora Shrine Potentate Brent Tanguay that, “We've done everything that we could to try to make this experience more comfortable for some people. We've changed our flow, we've changed our time schedules, where you have to sign up for a certain time. We're only getting so many people in the building at once."

Despite Kora Shrine being forced to stop online raffle ticket sales, a bill has been submitted to change Maine state law to again allow raffle tickets to be sold online.

This new development seems to be upsetting some followers of this event on Facebook with one attendee saying she wished she would've known sooner.

"Wish I knew that before we bought tickets. I wouldn't have gone."

Another returning attendee of the event focused on the sadness of the situation by saying,

“This is so unbelievably sad. They do good for the community. My kids look Forward to this."

However, some agree with the change saying that they believe the Kora Shrine will now make more money due to it being entirely in person.

This Friday, November 19th, Feztival of Trees will begin and I am hoping that even though this shift has taken place, event-goers will still attend, enjoy all that Kora Shrine has to offer, and take in the holiday cheer. They help so many people in need and even though this is a shift, let's still go out and support others and embrace the magic that this holiday event always brings.

Please visit Feztival of Trees for more information.

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