Tales from the Tread: Museum hosts 25th annual Festival of Trees

Julia Yamashita, 15, helps decorate a tree for Girl Scouts Troop #4313 while setting up for the 2018 Festival of Trees at the Tread of Pioneers Museum.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Need to rest your legs from a long day of skiing and riding? Look no further than the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s 25th annual Festival of Trees. This locals’ favorite holiday tradition transforms the museum into a sparkling forest of beautiful holiday trees and runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 16 to 25 daily. The event and the museum are always free for all Routt County residents.

Twenty-five local organizations, artists, clubs, classes and businesses decorate the trees to create a magical holiday wonderland. This year the event showcases the talents of Emerald Mountain School, Yampatika, local Girl Scout troops, the Ladies Recreation Club and more. New this year are four trees that received decorating help from four kindergarten classes from Soda Creek Elementary School.

“This popular holiday event offers something for everyone,” said Candice Bannister, event organizer and museum executive director. “From toddlers, to preschoolers, to families, to seniors, and everyone in between, people of all ages will enjoy the creativity and uniqueness of the trees. And it’s always free for Routt County residents.”

Yampa Valley Bank and Steamboat Ace Hardware are the event’s longstanding primary sponsors who underwrite all of the event’s costs. Another 23 sponsoring businesses and individuals “buy” the trees, and proceeds fund the museum’s preservation and educational activities. In total, 50 groups 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 decorated with Victorian holiday décor.

All local families are invited to Pioneer Christmas Story-time for Kids at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23. 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. All senior citizens are invited for cookies, cider and live music at the Senior Tea at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21.

If you go

What: Tread of Pioneers Museum’s Festival of Trees
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 16 to 25
Where: Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St.
Cost: The Festival of Trees and all of associated special events are free for all Routt County residents.

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, and historical toys and books for children.

After the Festival of Trees concludes at the museum Nov. 25, the spirit continues with the trees on display all around town at the sponsor locations throughout the entire holiday season. Don’t miss the magic and creativity of the Festival of Trees.

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