The whimsy (and youth) of Festival of Trees co-chairs

This year’s co-chairs of the Festival of Trees — Eric and Katrina Billig and Marcus Newberry and Elizabeth Harding — share many passions: devotion to family, a love of the Lowcountry, an enthusiasm for the outdoors, an appetite for cooking, three undergraduate degrees from the University of Virginia and a commitment to good medical care.

Eric and Katrina Billig with Elsa, 4, in their garden.

Katrina grew up in Hilton Head and Eric, whose father worked for the State Department, grew up between Central America and Northern Virginia. Katrina and Eric met at the University of Virginia while pursuing their undergraduate degrees. After graduation, Katrina ventured north to NYC and worked in PR for Kate Spade. Eric pursued his medical training, residency and fellowship in various places, ultimately becoming a radiologist. The couple lived in Atlanta before finally deciding to call Beaufort their home. They have a beautiful 4-year-old, Elsa, who has inherited the couple’s boundless energy.

Eric now works for Beaufort Memorial Hospital, and Katrina devotes her time to motherhood and, when time allows, interior design. The pair love to garden, but it is Eric who says, “This fruit really does fall from my father’s tree; Dad had an abundant energy and love for gardening. I share his passion.” The couple’s backyard garden teems with a variety of vegetables, a plethora of different citrus trees and an amazing assortment of peppers. Katrina adds, “The best bonus to this outdoor bounty is to be able to walk out your back door and

Mark Newberry and his fiance, Elizabeth Harding.

‘pick’ your meals!”

Mark and Elizabeth met through mutual friends in Beaufort. Mark did his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia and received his medical degree from MUSC. He is an oncologist at Lowcountry Medical Group. Mark has two energetic teenage boys: Marcus, 16,  and Sam,14. “They keep us busy and seem to grow by the minute. Our goal is to keep them active and busy,” Mark says with a smile. He adds, “Beaufort with all its water and outdoor activities makes the adventure fun.”

Elizabeth, who studied architecture at Clemson, is part owner of The Island News. “Venturing from the study of designing and constructing buildings to journalism is really a flawless transition — both require conceptual structure.”

Mark and Elizabeth are lovers of the outdoors and tend to be out on the river as much as time allows. Elizabeth jokes, “Mark won my heart through my stomach! One of his signature dishes is fresh caught whole crispy fried flounder.” They are tying the knot next March, “a month before the official start of fishing season,” jokes Elizabeth.

Come and meet this year’s Festival of Trees medical co-chairs at the Opening Night Gala, Friday, December 3.

The Festival of Trees is Friends of Caroline Hospice’s largest fundraiser and will be from December 3-8 at the Charles Lind Brown Activity Center, 1001 Hamar Street, Beaufort. For more information, contact Sharon Dwyer at 843-271-1595.


Get Your Festival of Trees Holiday Butt Today! The Festival of Trees has your solution to feasting during the Holiday Season — perfectly cooked 6-8 lb. BBQ Boston Butts. The butts are fully cooked and vacuum-wrapped and easy to reheat or freeze for any holiday occasion. Instructions are available at pick-up.

Holiday Butts are also the perfect solution for holiday giving. Sally Mitchell, Managing Member of Carolina Container of Beaufort, said, “Talk about a win-win: Last year Carolina Container of Beaufort gifted our customers with Holiday Boston Butts in support of Festival of Trees benefiting Friends of Caroline Hospice. For weeks after the holiday, customer calls came in thanking us for the delicious treat of BBQ for the holidays. What a wonderful way to give back.” Order by email at holidaybutts@gmail.com the deadline for orders is this Friday, Nov. 23.

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