Both floors of the Carnegie Library Museum are filled with trees, wreaths, nativity scenes and more for the sixth-annual Festival of Trees.
The festival kicked off on Saturday, Nov. 23 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 21.
The Festival of Trees has continued to grow, organizers said. Katie Schott, who helps organize the event with Laura Stebbins, said they had around 12 entries in the first year. The number climbed to 46 last year and 50 this year, the highest yet.
“It keeps growing and we keep getting more diverse people involved,” Schott said.
While there are new organizations and businesses participating this year, others have been creating trees for years.
Raccoon River Valley Bike Co., Betsy Peterson Designs and Alice’s Haus Dresin have participated all six years. Other businesses, City of Perry departments, organizations and individuals have joined and created entries over the years.
Though not every one of the entries in this year’s festival is a tree. Raccoon River Valley Bike Co. used bike tires to create a tree while the Perry Chamber of Commerce used rolled up Bike Ride to Rippey T-shirts inside a wooden tree frame. Other entries include smaller trees on tables, wreaths or private collections, including various Santas and a holiday village.
Schott said they never know what type of entry businesses and organizations will bring in each year.
Some took inspiration from their business or shop. Fareway used small grocery bags, carts and other grocery-themed items. Perry Paint and Glass used mirrors to create a tree. Friends of the Perry Public Library used books to create a tree, The Perry Piecemakers Quilt Guild made a garland out of fabric and fabric scraps stuffed into the ornaments, while Minburn Communications made their own trees out of phone books.
The Dallas County Conservation Board took inspiration from the “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” song. Their entry features a number of antique musical instruments from the Forest Park Museum.
“It’s fun to see and it’s amazing what people come up with,” Schott said.
She encourages the community to come out to the Carnegie Library Museum to look at all of the entries. Attendees can then vote for their favorites.
This year, the voting process has been simplified. While the Festival of Trees is the Carnegie Library Museum’s largest fundraiser, people will no longer vote with money for their favorite entry.
Everyone who enters the Carnegie Library Museum will be provided a voting ticket and asked to vote for their favorite tree. Prizes will be handed out to the top three vote-getters.
Two donation boxes, complete with Christmas lights, have been added to the existing donation boxes. While the Festival of Trees is free, organizers said donations of all sizes will help keep the annual event going.
Two quilts, created by Linda Andorf, will again be raffled off. Raffle tickets, $1/ticket or 6 tickets for $5, are available at the Carnegie Library Museum through Dec. 15.
Special evening hours will be offered from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6. Community members are invited to come learn about Las Posadas and other global holiday traditions.
Also new this year, a coloring table for all ages will be available, along with a scavenger hunt. Schott said kids will receive a Christmas pencil and a paper. They then have to look around at the entries to find everything on the scavenger hunt. Those who find a certain number of items will be entered into a drawing for a book. They can also receive one of the candy-filled ornaments on the Perry Public Library tree after the event wraps up on Dec. 21.
The Festival of Trees will be open for extended hours, 5:30-8:30 p.m., on Friday, Nov. 29 during the Lighted Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration.
The event continues from 10-4 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays, 12-4 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-3 p.m. on Sundays through Dec. 21.
“We’re just excited about it,” Schott said. “I think it’s important to the community. People just really seem to enjoy it and that’s wonderful.”