Annual Tree Festival lights up Carnegie

Kiley Wellendorf - Staff
In the basement of the Carnegie, unique trees stand tall and shine bright. (Left): Raccoon Valley Bicycle Co; (middle) Betsy Peterson Designs; Hy-Vee (right). PHOTO BY KILEY WELLENDORF/THE PERRY CHIEF

The Carnegie’s Annual Festival of Trees is up in the museum and brighter than ever. This year’s display features thirty-nine holiday-inspired trees and holiday decorations.

“We started this five years ago just decorating [the Carnegie Museum] ourselves, Laura [Stebbins] and I” said volunteer, Katie Schott. “We had help from a couple of other people and decided it’s an awful lot of work.”

The idea of covering the Carnegie in Christmas decorations stemmed from the desire to bring in more faces to the Carnegie.

“It’s an amazing place and we’re so fortunate to have it and we really need more people to come in and see it,” Schott said. “The first year we had twelve or thirteen, the next year we had around twenty, last year we had thirty-three and now we have thirty-nine.”

Local businesses, churches and organizations were invited to take part in the display.

“We started asking businesses and they’ve been very cooperative and fun,” Schott said. “The object of it is for businesses organizations or individuals to showcase their decorations.”

“[Decorations] just represents you and who you are.”

Those who decided to take part in the annual display were given both Nov. 15 and 16 to set up their display before the deadline at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17.

“We have people that have done it before and Laura [Stebbins] has an email list and emails them pretty early to remind [them],” Schott said.

Spots were designated using a map, Schott says, and volunteers all made sure each display had a source of electricity if needed.

Trees, decorations and more are placed alongside bookshelves, smaller trees sit on top of desks, and sit adjacent to one another in the downstairs of Carnegie.

“Two or three [trees are] together on a power strip because all of the volunteers have to turn them all on and all off,” Schott said.

The Carnegie Library currently stays open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and the entries will be displayed until Dec. 29, later taken down on designated dates in January of 2018.

“It’s just a fun thing and it brings people to the Carnegie,” Schott said.