15th annual Festival of Trees benefits museum | SteamboatToday.com

15th annual Festival of Trees benefits museum

Margaret Hair

Steamboat Springs High School National Honor Society members David Mucklow, from left, and Jaime Winter put the final touches on a Christmas tree for this year's Festival of Trees, a fundraiser that benefits the Tread of Pioneers Museum.
Matt Stensland

Themes for this year's Festival of Trees include "Reading, Writing and Rudolph" and "Respect the Yampa."Matt Stensland

— For the fourth year in a row, the Steamboat Springs-based High Point 4-H Club will show off its shining stars at the start of the holiday season.

About 25 club members crowded into the Tread of Pioneers Museum's community room Thursday afternoon to decorate for the 15th annual Festival of Trees. Club members brought in photos of themselves doing 4-H projects for the "Stars of the Future" tree, which is adorned with more than 40 small picture frames and various star-shaped ornaments.

"This is a project the 4-H kids are doing to give back to the community," said Forest Yeager, High Point 4-H Club leader. "And the stars of the future, the 4-H, they're the leaders of our future. They're the stars."

Festival of Trees, a fundraiser for the Tread of Pioneers Museum, was scheduled to open Saturday and can be viewed from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Nov. 23. Admission for the project, which includes 16 trees decorated by community groups or businesses, is free to all Routt County residents.

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On Thursday afternoon, community groups filtered into the museum for the final few hours of tree decorating. Groups volunteer their time and creative input, and 16 additional participating businesses bid on their favorite tree at a private sponsors party.

Sounds of the season moved from the front exhibit hall to the museum's community room, as staff members from the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association repeatedly broke out in song.

Working with a "Peace on Earth" theme, the Chamber group attached metal doves and silver-colored Christmas ornaments to its tree. The idea was to highlight "getting back to the things that really are important in your life like peace and joy and family and friends," said Sandy Evans Hall, Chamber executive vice president.

Rachel Radetsky and Katy Kriz, of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, chose a "Celebrate the Arts" theme for their tree, picking decorations visual, performing, literary, film and other arts they could imagine. The topper, a starburst made of paintbrushes, brings it all together.

Other themes include "Reading, Writing and Rudolph" from Lowell Whiteman Primary School; "Rock With the Red, Roll With the White" from Steamboat Springs High School's National Honor Society; and "Respect the Yampa" from Historic Routt County.

Festival of Trees is the Tread's only fundraiser of the year. The museum receives proceeds from sponsoring businesses' tree purchases. Yampa Valley Bank and Ace at the Curve cover all event expenses, including the cost of 16 artificial Christmas trees.

Four museum rooms have trees on display for the "very local-centered event," said Candice (Lombardo) Bannister, Tread of Pioneers Museum executive director.

"Not only do you have your 16 businesses, you also have your 16 decorating organizations. … Between those 32 groups, you have hundreds of people involved," Bannister said.

A senior tea, for local senior citizens to peruse the trees and enjoy refreshments, is at 2 and 3 p.m. Thursday. There will be cookies and cider available during festival hours. After the Festival of Trees closes Nov. 23, sponsoring businesses will have the trees on display throughout the holiday season.

If you go

What: 15th annual Festival of Trees, a fundraiser for Tread of Pioneers Museum

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Nov. 23

Where: Tread of Pioneers Museum, Eighth and Oak streets

Cost: Free to Routt County residents

Call: 879-2214

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