Festival kicks off holidays

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¤ Festival of Trees¤ The museum will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Nov. 20, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 21¤ Tread of Pioneers Museum, Eighth and Oak streets¤ Free to Routt County residents¤ 879-2214

— It's that time of year again. For 11 years, the Tread of the Pioneers Museum has kicked off the holiday season in Steamboat Springs with the Festival of Trees.

This year, the festival has been extended an extra week because of the popularity of the event. Last year, 80 visitors a day came to the museum to see the trees. On the festival's last day, as the decorated trees were being packed for delivery, people still were knocking at the door.

The Festival of Trees is a cornerstone of the museum's year -- its signature event and largest fundraiser.

The Festival of Trees raises about $9,000 annually for the museum. The money is used for extra projects such as collection inventory and preservation.

Each year, nonprofits, school and businesses decorate Christmas trees for the event. This year, First National Bank of Steamboat Springs underwrote the purchase cost for the trees.

The festival will feature 26 trees decorated by groups including Routt County Cattlewomen, the National Honor Society of Steamboat Springs High School, F.M. Light & Sons, Strings in the Mountains Guild, Yampa Valley Medical Center, Whiteman Primary School and Horizons Specialized Services.

Each group chooses a theme -- an aesthetic or idea --nd its members spend hours putting the tree together.

After the trees are completed, event sponsors get to choose the tree they want to display at their place of business throughout the holiday shopping season, which begins the day after Thanksgiving.

The final touches are being put on trees today. They will be on display at the museum through Nov. 21. Sponsors choose their trees Monday.

Viewing the Festival of Trees is free to Routt County residents.

Cider and cookies will be served every day of the festival.

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