Festival of Trees features 24 winter wonderful displays

The Tread of Pioneers' 23rd Festival of Trees event is on display from now until Nov. 20 featuring a variety of themes and creativity.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The holidays are just around the corner, and the Tread of Pioneers Museum is showcasing Routt County’s festive spirit.

Featuring quirky new twists to time-honored holiday themes, the 23rd annual Festival of Trees has descended upon the museum featuring 44 decorated trees, which are on display for public viewing from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Nov. 20 at the museum.

From veteran to novice decorators, we’re highlighting a few of the trees to be on the lookout for this year.


Theme: 25th anniversary of Yampatika

Inspiration: “Yampatika has been around for a long time and follows its mission of inspiring environmental stewardships through education, and last year, we really highlighted that by showcasing our programs with ornaments that featured plants, animals, etc.,” said Kellie Gorman, Yampatika’s program director. “This year we wanted to focus on the 25th anniversary with silver and red as our colors.”

Materials: Used natural, recycled materials like tree cookies and hand-painted round ornaments. “The project really tapped into the staff and volunteers’ arts and crafts strengths,” said Gorman. “Sometimes we get stuck in our bubbles of our daily routines, but this event reminds us what everyone else and other organizations in town are doing.”

Ladies Recreation Club

Theme: Balloon Rodeo Weekend: “Up, up and away”

Inspiration: “We try to put together something Steamboat oriented each year,” said Vickie Suprenant, LRC member and decorator. “In past years, themes have been ‘Champagne Power’ with glasses and snow, alpenglow and ‘animals gone wild in the city,’ which was last year’s.”

Materials: Used colorful glass ornaments

Be on the lookout for:  “A tree full of hot air or anything that lifts,” Suprenant said.

Animal Assistance League of NWCO

Theme/ inspiration: “Bling in the holidays with your family pets”

“Because of what we do, we always try to feature the animals we’ve helped or who are available for adoption,” said Cassandra Mendonca, who has been leading the decorating effort for the league for the last five years.

Materials: Used rhinestones, glitter, glass and decoupage for the pictures and stories of the animals currently at the Routt County Humane Society as well as animals the Animal Assistance League of NWCO has helped in the past. Each ornament lists name of animal and where he/she is available.

Be on lookout for: 100 yards of gold and teal ribbon as well as the hand-decorated ornaments

Steamboat Art Museum

Theme: 10 years of the Steamboat Art Museum

Inspiration: For the 10th anniversary, museum staff and volunteers created the tree theme as a celebration of the 30 exhibits that have been featured over the years, said SAM Executive Director Betse Grassby.

Materials: The staff and volunteers used photos in miniature picture frames from those exhibits as well as ornaments from the museum store.

Young Bloods Collective

Theme: A pine tree’s lifecycle

Inspiration: “Each year we try to incorporate a unique element,” said Sista Luna, YBC co-founder and artist. “This year the tree is based on the life cycle of a pine tree with four distinct layers starting from the bottom to the top. First is the seed stage, second is the sapling stage, third is the full-grown adults stage and the top is in one sense the death stage represented by fire and the seeds opening because pinecones can’t open without fire.”

Materials: Pinecones, ornaments made out of large beads, hemp, YBC artist member Sarah Valentino’s wood discs in the sapling stage, as well as sparkly garland beads, red and gold garland and a star that lights up red.

Admission to the Festival of Trees is free for all Routt County residents. For out-of-town visitors, the cost is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $2 for children and free for those younger than 6.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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