Festival of Trees at Museum of Arts and Sciences kicks off holiday season in style

November 8, 2013 

The Festival of Trees returns for its 27th year next week with three events.

JEROME GRATIGNY — Special to The Telegraph

Handcrafted designer trees are at the center of the Museum of Arts and Sciences annual kickoff to the holiday season.

The Festival of Trees returns for its 27th year next week with a luncheon, an evening gala and more than 25 decorated trees.

“It brings a lot of the community out for the holidays,” said Melanie Byas, the museum’s marketing director. “I think a lot of people look forward to it every year. The trees are beautiful.”

The festival begins Wednesday with a noon lunch at the museum.

“The luncheon is the preview day for the tree exhibit,” Byas said. “The exhibit actually opens the next day to the general public.”

Reservations are required for the lunch, which also includes a chance to buy home-baked goods at the Sugar Plum Shop.

“The bake sale always sells out,” Byas said.

The gala will happen Thursday evening at the Terminal Station in downtown Macon.

“Last year was the first year we moved (the gala) from the museum,” Byas said. “We’re really excited. The community really turned out to support us.”

The gala includes a catered dinner, open bar, music by the Grapevine and a silent auction.

“They are our largest fundraisers,” Byas said of the luncheon and gala. “Both of them are long-standing traditions.”

But at the heart of the festival are the individually designed trees that remain on display at the museum through Dec. 29.

Last year’s trees included everything from traditional Victorian-style decor to a tree covered in unique origami and another decorated with pizza box memorabilia.

“We don’t know the end results until we see them,” Byas said. “We leave it up to the designers to come up with their own designs. In a sense, it ends up being as much as a surprise for us as the public.”

The museum provides the trees to individuals, groups or organizations that come up with a theme and provide the decorations.

“We have people come out to see the tree exhibit that don’t come out to the museum other times of the year,” Byas said. “I think it continues because it’s a well established part of the holiday season in Macon -- one that many people look forward to every year.”

Festival of Trees Luncheon

When: Noon-2 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Museum of Arts & Sciences, 4182 Forsyth Road

Cost: $50, advance reservations are required

Information: www.masmacon.org/festival-of-trees

Festival of Trees Gala

When: 7-11 p.m. Thursday

Where: Terminal Station, 200 Cherry St.

Cost: $75

Information: www.masmacon.org/festival-of-trees

Festival of Trees Exhibition

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesdays-Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Exhibition opens Thursday and is on display through Dec. 29.

Where: Museum of Arts & Sciences, 4182 Forsyth Road

Cost: Free with museum admission of $5-$10

Information: www.masmacon.org/festival-of-trees

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