Festival of Trees to open at Tread of Pioneers Museum on Saturday | SteamboatToday.com

Festival of Trees to open at Tread of Pioneers Museum on Saturday

Emi Ramirez decorates a tree at the Tread of Pioneers Museum on Thursday for this year's Festival of Trees event. The annual fundraiser for the museum opens Saturday and will run through Nov. 25.
John F. Russell

— Christmas spirit is back with the 19th annual Festival of Trees fundraiser at the Tread of Pioneers Museum in downtown Steamboat Springs. The festival opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 25.

Heritage Christian School is decorating one of 18 trees that will on display, and on Wednesday, eight Heritage Christian students trooped into the museum like a conveyor belt carrying supplies. They brought bags of stuffing for snow, tubs of handmade angels for ornaments and even a wooden prop they had constructed to represent the Town of Bethlehem at the base of the tree.

Preparation began for the students three weeks ago as kindergarten through sixth-grade students eagerly made the angels, and the older students created the creche scene.

Christel Houston, Heritage Christian art teacher, introduced the project like a story to the younger participants. She explained that the angels they were making would decorate a tree that someone had given to the museum, just like people donate to the school.

“Our theme is the Nativity Christmas tree. We based our design off the Metropolitan Museum of Art Christmas tree,” Houston said as several smiling students hung the sparkling angels that lead a spectator’s gaze up to a brilliant star at the top of the tree.

All 18 trees in the display were provided by Ace at the Curve, one of the event’s sponsors along with Yampa Valley Bank and Conroy Moving and Storage. Each tree is donated to the Tread of Pioneers Museum after organizations choose to purchase them in August.

Katie Adams, the museum’s curator, said Tread of Pioneers was closed Wednesday through Friday in order to give the school groups, organizations and local businesses time to decorate their trees.

In years past, designs have ranged from Yampa Valley Bank’s authentic Bayou theme to traditional tinsel and ornaments.

This year, creativity abounds. LIFT-UP of Routt County volunteers had fun deciding how best to hang fruit and food items all over their tree to represent the mission of the organization’s food bank. Emerald Mountain School’s tree was heavily adorned with mostly homemade ornaments and painted bird houses.

“Trees grow to twice their size,” Adams said. “Most of the time, you can’t even tell there’s a tree at all.”

The Tread of Pioneers Museum hosts special tours for seniors and kids and even puts on a People’s Choice Award contest. Those who come through to look at the trees can vote for his or her favorite. The most popular tree will be named at the conclusion of the festival.

“It’s a great way to come together as a community,” Houston said.

The Festival of Trees is open daily for viewing from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St. The festival runs from Nov. 16 to 25. Call the museum at 970-879-2214 for more information.

Madison Ruppel, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a fall intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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