Winter wonder on display in Tread of Pioneers’ Festival of Trees
If you go:
What: Festival of Trees
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Nov. 12 to 21
Where: Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St.
Steamboat Springs — Blending Routt County history with non-traditional perspectives, the 22nd annual Festival of Trees will open to the public Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs.
This year’s event, which is free to Routt County residents and will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Nov. 21, promises some new twists to time-honored holiday themes, bringing in even more sponsors and decorators than last year’s event, many of whom are new to the festival, according to Tread of Pioneers Executive Director Candice Bannister.
Whether veteran or novice, however, each of the 21 decorating groups seeks to convey the wonder that winter brings to the Yampa Valley.
The Yampa Valley Pony Club is decorating its first tree for the event this year.
Club secretary Tracy DelliQuadri said that members, who range in age from 8 to 13, have decorated their tree with everything equine, such as painted horseshoes and old show ribbons, and wrote their favorite things about riding horses on stars hanging from the tree.
DelliQuadri said the Pony Club is a tightly-knit group that enjoys supporting each other both on and off their horses and that the Festival of Trees gives them a great opportunity to bond.
“It’s always fun to get together doing non-riding activities to support each other,” DelliQuadri said. “It’s totally a kid-decorated tree.”
If the Pony Club offers a fresh perspective to the festival, the Ladies Recreation Club, or LRC, holds the keys to the history of the valley.
Founded in 1924, the LRC is a group of local women and outdoor enthusiasts who, with legendary Carl Howelsen, established a legacy of women’s skiing and outdoor recreation.
Club member Vickie Suprenant said this year’s tree will be decorated with an “animals gone wild in town” theme. Underscoring the fact that Yampa Valley residents also include the four-footed, the tree will sport 200 ornaments of moose, porcupine, elk, raccoon, mountain lion, fox, skunk, deer, and of course, bears.
But for Bannister, the most unique tree is sponsored each year by Yampa Valley Bank and decorated by Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer John Piret. Piret said he likes to approach tree decorating from a novel perspective.
Over the four years that Piret has been decorating trees for the festival, he’s created a Bayou-themed tree, complete with cray fish, crab traps, snakes and bugs, and a Day of the Dead tree with candy skulls.
This year, Piret turned to his love of physics for inspiration. His tree will feature decorations representing great physicists, quotes and depictions of the principles of physics — things that “make you think about the world.”
“We are ever grateful to all of our tree sponsors who support the museum through this event, especially Yampa Valley Bank, our presenting sponsor, who underwrites all of the costs of the event, and Steamboat Ace Hardware who donates all of the bare trees,” Bannister.
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