Branch out into the holidays with an exhibit that promises to be the bee’s knees.
The annual Festival of Trees exhibit kicks off this weekend with a Roaring ’20s theme, and people and groups from across the region decorated or created from scratch Christmas trees befitting of the Jazz Era.
This year’s exhibit runs from Friday, Dec. 8, through Friday, Jan. 12, in the former Abercrombie & Fitch store in the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton.
Exhibit admission is free except during the Dec. 8 opening reception, which runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and costs $20. Guests can nibble on hors d’oeuvres and listen to music from Gypsy Jazz Quintet. Proceeds from the show and reception benefit the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.
“It’s great that organizations, big and small, can come together for such a good cause and celebrate the season,” said Alysia Scazafabo, volunteer chairwoman of the festival. “Everyone gets the chance to come to the (marketplace) and see their creativity, too. This is a great event.”
Headed by Lackawanna County’s Office of Arts and Culture and its event-planning committee, lots of local organizations, volunteers and more all get together to brainstorm ideas and pull off this annual event, Scazafabo said. She described the 1920s as an important era of both social and political change and said organizers encouraged festival participants to use jazz, flappers, dance halls and speakeasies, Prohibition, airplanes, automobiles, film and more as inspiration from the pioneering decade.  
“The theme works out. Feedback has been great, and the trees so far has been pretty interesting,” Scazafabo said, adding that participants range from local schools to Leadership Lackawanna to women inmates of Lackawanna County Prison. “We crossed paths with some amazing people, and they’re very excited about the opportunity to show off their creativity.”
This year, guests can don their feathers, fringe, pinstripes and other pieces of ’20s fashion during the opening reception’s fancy dress contest. The winner will receive bragging rights as well as a $100 gift certificate for the Marketplace at Steamtown.
“It’s a fun excuse to get together and dress up,” Scazafabo said. “It will be exciting to see everyone dressed in that time period and embracing that style.”
Changing the theme each year adds a unique twist to keep an annual event like Festival of Trees fresh. Though, it’s participants’ imaginations that make the event a regional mainstay.
“The exhibit is about ‘Christmas trees,’ but some people are just so creative with how they interpret that along with the theme,” Scazafabo said. “You never know what you’re going to get.”
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If you go
What: Annual Festival of Trees
When: Friday, Dec. 8, through Friday, Jan. 12; opening reception and 1920s dress contest, Dec. 8, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave.
Details: Tickets for the opening reception are $20; admission for remaining dates is free. Proceeds benefit the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. A Toys for Tots drop-off box will be inside Electric City Trolley Museum, 300 Cliff St., Scranton, during its hours of operation.

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