The annual Festival of Trees exhibit kicks off this weekend with an Electric City holiday theme, which can mean an homage to Scranton’s electric roots — home to the first electric trolley — or a celebration of the city, said Maureen McGuigan, Lackawanna County deputy director of arts and culture. People and groups from across the region decorated or created from-scratch Christmas trees for the event, and she expects participants’ imaginations to run wild.
“We try to keep the theme specific but broad enough that there’s room for interpretation. That’s one of my favorite parts of this event is seeing everyone’s creativity and how they interpret the theme,” she said. “You can really see the organization or business or group’s personality cone through (in their tree).”
This year’s exhibit runs from Friday, Dec. 14, through Sunday, Jan. 13, in the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton.
Headed by Lackawanna County’s Office of Arts and Culture — which partnered with the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce — and the office’s event-planning committee, lots of local organizations, volunteers and more all get together to brainstorm ideas and pull off this annual event, McGuigan said.
For the second year in a row, the trees will be on display inside the Marketplace at Steamtown. Guests can find them on the second floor near Luzerne County Community College’s entrance. While McGuigan said she loves the festival’s past home, Electric City Trolley Museum, being inside the Marketplace allows for more eyes on participants’ hard work.
“It’s more visible since so many people are coming through the (marketplace) during any day of the week,” she said. “It also just makes it look so nice for holidays and gets you into the spirit.”
Exhibit admission is free except during the Dec. 14 opening reception, which runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and costs $20. Scranton DJ duo Saturbae will provide pop music and more hits, mainly from the late ’90s and early 2000s.
“We like the entertainment to fit the theme, and (Saturbae) is fun and really brings the energy,” McGuigan said. “It’s definitely electric.”
Local businesses Peculiar Culinary Co. and Electric City Bakehouse will serve food at the preview. Proceeds from the show and reception benefit the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program, which has been its longtime beneficiary.
McGuigan said the Festival of Trees continues to be a favorite downtown holiday event, joined by other seasonal attractions such as Lackawanna Winter Market. It’s a tradition that celebrates residents’ creativity and, especially thanks to this year’s theme, highlights the pride they have in their home.
“We have a great, rich history and a great present, too,” McGuigan said. “There’s so much going on in downtown and all over the region. This is a good time of the year to reflect on that.”