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Tales from the Tread: 27th annual Festival of Trees

Courtesy photo

Looking for a fun and festive tradition to get you in the holiday spirit? Look no further than the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s 27th annual Festival of Trees.

This locals’ favorite holiday tradition transforms the museum into a sparkling forest of beautiful holiday trees. It runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 12-27 (closed Thanksgiving Day). The event and museum are always free for all Routt County residents.

Each year, 20 to 25 local organizations, artists, clubs, classes and businesses decorate the trees before the festival to create a magical holiday wonderland inside the museum. This year, the event showcases the talents of Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Yampatika, National Honor Society, Steamboat Art Museum and more. Plus, children’s groups, such as several kindergarten classes from local elementary schools, Girl Scout Troops and High Point 4-H, will also create their own magical holiday masterpieces.



“This popular holiday event offers something for everyone,” said Candice Bannister, event organizer and museum executive director. “From toddlers to gradeschoolers to families to seniors and everyone in between, people of all ages will enjoy the creativity and uniqueness of the trees.”

If you go

What: Tread of Pioneers Museum’s Festival of Trees

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 12-27 (closed Thanksgiving day)

Where: Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St.

How much: Free

What: Pioneer Christmas Storytime for Kids

When: 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Nov. 13

Where: Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St.

How much: Free

More info: TreadOfPioneers.org, 970-879-2214

A bonus for this year: Thanksgiving break is the entire week of Nov. 22, so the festival is a great family activity while the kids are out of school.



Yampa Valley Bank and Steamboat Ace Hardware are the event’s longstanding primary sponsors who underwrite all of the costs. Another 23 sponsoring businesses and individuals “buy” the trees, and proceeds fund the museum’s preservation and educational activities. In total, up to 50 groups of sponsors and decorators, comprised of hundreds of individuals, join the museum’s staff and volunteers to make this a true community event.

During your visit, vote for your favorite tree in the tree decorating competition. Kids can win prizes if they find the three “antique gold keys” hidden within the trees. Adding to the event’s charm, the historic Zimmerman house is trimmed with Victorian holiday decor.

All local families are also invited to Pioneer Christmas Storytime for Kids at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Nov. 13. Museum staff dressed in period attire will share pioneer and Victorian holiday traditions and local Christmas stories in the museum’s parlor. While you are here, you can take your holiday photos for your Christmas cards.

The Festival of Trees is a great opportunity to get your holiday shopping finished early in the Museum Store, where you’ll find locally made products, prints of local historical photographs, jewelry, artwork, regional books, ornaments and historical toys and books for children.

After the festival concludes at the museum Nov. 27, the holiday spirit continues with the trees on display all around town at the sponsor locations throughout the entire holiday season.


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