Celebrating all things ‘green’ at Festival of Trees
“It is a magical winter wonderland when you come into the Trolley Museum and you see all of these trees scattered around,” said Maureen McGuigan, Deputy Director of the Lackawanna County Department of Arts and Culture. “It’s such a big industrial place, but the trees makes it a little cozier for the holidays.”
The Electric City Trolley Museum is transformed into a festive winter landscape each year with the arrival of the Festival of Trees Exhibit. With trees exploring this year’s theme of “Green Christmas”, visitors are sure to see many different styles of decorated firs focusing on sustainability, recycling and green living. The exhibit is an annual fundraiser for Toys for Tots Foundation and opens with a reception at The Electric City Trolley Museum (300 Cliff Street, Scranton) on Dec. 14 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
“It is an important annual tradition as well as a fundraiser for Toys for Tots,” said McGuigan. “The concept is that organizations, businesses, corporations, non-profits and civic groups decorate trees around a theme. It’s fantastic seeing all of the different types of organizations and people that get involved.”
Awards are given for first, second, third places as well as Honorable Mention and People’s Choice Award. Attendees at the reception can vote for their favorite tree at $1 a vote. Winners will be announced during the reception.
It was a unique display from 2011’s Festival of Trees that left quite an impression on the planning committee causing them to “think green” in 2012. “It was inspired by the Lackawanna Alumni Association,” McGuigan said. “During last year’s festival (Art of the Tree), they had a really cool tree made out of plastic bottles. I thought their tree was beautiful, very interesting and got me thinking about sustainability and the environment. The county is very active in this important topic and the event planning committee thought it would be a good theme for 2012.”
Some of the participating organizations in this year’s festival are the Everhart Museum, Ethan Allan Furniture, Prudential, Polish National Union, Leadership Lackawanna, Lackawanna Heritage Valley, Disney on Ice, Scranton Cultural Center, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, St. Joseph’s Center, Northern Tier Symphony Orchestra, Electric City Trolley Museum Association and Nada & Company (last year’s 1st place winner) to name a few.
Lackawanna County, the operator of the Museum, will have two trees in this year’s festival that showcase different aspects of the county. The Community Relations Department is collecting ornaments from each municipality (40) in the county. There will also be an ARTS Engage! tree with ornaments created by children K-12 participating in the ARTS Engage! program. The ARTS Engage! is a program sponsored by the county where at-risk youths are placed to develop self-esteem and positive social skills.
Those hoping to attend the exhibit’s opening reception can expect food, live music, drink and nice dose of holiday cheer. “It’s a nice holiday event you can attend and relax without stress,” McGuigan said. “It focuses on what is really important; helping others and spending time in your community with friends and family. You see all of these different organizations and people coming together. The trees are so magical and fun. Every year, no matter what the theme may be, is so great. It takes you out of the mundanity and gets you to appreciate things.”
Not only will there be decorated trees planting their roots throughout the building, The Electric City Trolley Station and Museum is also offering Trolley Rides with Santa this holiday season. Children can ride the trolley with Santa Claus throughout December on Saturdays and Sundays five times a day through Dec. 22.
To display a tree, the cost is $100 for corporations and $50 for non-profits and small businesses (less than 50 employees). All registration forms must be received by Friday, Dec. 7. Space is limited. Trees will be on display inside the Electric City Trolley Museum. No cut or living trees will be accepted. Only artificial trees will be displayed. Contact the Trolley Museum at 963-6590 for additional information.
— tom graham
Opening Reception tickets are $20. The event features food and beverages, including wine by Maiolatesi Winery and music by Jenkins and Woodyatt. The exhibit remains on display until Dec. 31 and the museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $5 for senior citizens. The museum will offer free admission on Saturday, Dec. 29 as a community gift.
Trolley rides with Santa run Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 22. Departure times are 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. Excursion ticket prices are $8 for adults; $7 for senior citizens; and $6 for children. Children age 3 and under are admitted free. Combination tickets for the ride and museum can also be purchased. To make reservations, call 963-6590.