Festival of Trees a local effort | SteamboatToday.com

Festival of Trees a local effort

Holiday exhibit benefits museum, gathers community spirit

Margaret Hair

— Parked on the floor of an exhibit room of the Tread of Pioneers Museum, Lowell Whiteman Primary School teachers Victoria Rudolph and Kim Bates were putting the final touches on the school’s holiday tree.

“We’re making filler,” Bates said, twirling a green pipe cleaner around a pen to hang on the tree’s branches, between ornaments crafted by Lowell Whiteman students. All the tree’s decorations are made of reused materials, from the cardboard tubes wrapped in shimmering green to the Christmas tree topper made out of a phonebook. Bates said the goal was to conserve resources for Tread of Pioneers.

“They give you a $100 budget, and our goal was not to use any of it, and we didn’t,” she said. The Lowell Whiteman Primary School tree is one of 19 that will be on display at the museum beginning Saturday as part of its 14th annual Festival of Trees fundraiser. The show will be open for public viewing from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Nov 24.

For the festival, 19 sponsoring businesses exchange a donation to the museum for a tree decorated by another business or community organization, said Candice Lombardo, executive director of Tread of Pioneers.

“The trees, the decorations and the community collaboration is the spirit behind this,” Lombardo said. Each sponsoring business will pick a favorite decorated tree to display after the exhibit leaves the museum.

On Thursday afternoon, several representatives of the decorating side of the festival were busy putting final touches on their trees. Most of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association staff added ornaments to their feather boa-wrapped “Sandy’s Angels”-themed tree. Chamber media and public relations manager Molly Killien said the tree is in homage to Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Chamber.

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“We’re an all-woman staff, and Scott Marr, our Chamber board president from last year, nicknamed us all ‘Sandy’s Angels,’ and it stuck,” Killien said as another staff member offered a warning from behind the tree: “FYI, angels are fragile.”

Ace at the Curve donated 19 trees for the festival, and Yampa Valley Bank covered other costs, Lombardo said. The museum hosts a senior tea at the exhibit with live music and refreshments at 2 p.m. Thursday.