The efforts of 40 volunteers have paid off, with thousands of people coming to see the 24th Beaver County Festival of Trees. Adults and children are “oohing” and “ahhhing” over 26 artfully decorated trees and 12 wreaths, as well as model trains, live entertainment, Santa Claus and a gift shop.
In past years as many as 7,500 people came to the festival, which benefits the Beaver County Children and Youth Services Advisory Board and the U.S. Search and Rescue Recovery Corps. It’s held at the Lodge in Brady’s Run, in Brady’s Run Park in Fallston.
“We’ve had nice crowds and a tremendous amount of positive feedback,” said Ron Wisbith, festival chairman, who was interviewed two days before the festival ended Wednesday [Dec. 11].
The event started on Thanksgiving night, when traffic “was slower than usual,” Mr. Wisbith said. “People said attendance was affected because the Steelers were playing and the weather was bad,” but he’s also wondering if some people chose to go shopping at stores that opened this year on the holiday instead of waiting until Black Friday.
The festival took in $20,000 last year from admission fees and from the auction of Christmas trees and wreaths, which was scheduled Wednesday night. [12/18]. Trees have been auctioned for as little as $200 and as much as $2,500 in previous auctions.
Artificial trees as tall as 10-feet are decorated by local businesses and by families. Trees this year included included a white tree decorated with angels and butterflies, a tree with childrens’ toys, one with Coca-Cola memorabilia and a gree tree with pine cones, white flowers and red cardinals.
For the first time the festival featured an International Christ Tree with glass-blown ornaments made it Poland. It was decorated and donated by Mr. Wisbith’s family. He said grandparents on both side of his family moved to this country from Poland.
“People coming in were asking for the International Tree,” he said. “Hopefully someone from another nationality will step up next year.”
Volunteers who worked for days during the busy holiday season to set up and operate the festival are the real heros, Mr. Wisbith said. More volunteers would be welcomed, he noted, especially next year when the Festival of Trees will celebrate its 25th year.
Linda Wilson Fuoco: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-722-0087.