Festival of Trees on display at local museum

Festival of Trees on display at local museum

jmink@macon.comNovember 17, 2013 

As the holidays approach, the Museum of Arts and Sciences has decked its hall with sombreros, doggy-bone houses and thread spools.

Those are just a few decorations at the Macon museum, where the annual Festival of Trees decor is on display through Dec. 29. In a front section of the museum, bright, towering trees remain from the festival’s annual fundraiser, which was held last week.

In the midst of its official fundraising season, the festival is a one of the biggest events for the local museum, representatives say.

Though the amount raised was not available Sunday, the festival’s luncheon and gala drew a total of about 700 people. More than 130 items, including local pieces of art, were donated to be auctioned for the museum. Now, the trees are left standing for visitors’ enjoyment.

“It is our number one fundraising event every single year,” said Jennifer Whitehead, membership coordinator for the museum.

While people can make donations any time, the museum is in the middle of its annual fundraising campaign, during which it seeks any additional donations. The campaign runs through Dec. 31, Whitehead said.

The trees have become more than a fundraising tradition -- they also kick off other holiday exhibits.

“Right now, it’s just the Festival of Trees,” Whitehead said. “But, we are also going to add our ‘Celebrate’ exhibit.”

The Celebrate exhibit, which will be on display beginning Nov. 26, pays tribute to other holiday traditions, including Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Diwali -- a Hindu festival that takes place around this time of year.

And the Christmas trees will remain. On a rainy Sunday, a little girl decked in pink sprinted toward a row of bright pink trees. Glittery ornaments are painted with different shades of pink, and pink ribbons snake up the trees. Nearby, a tree titled “Feliz Navidad” is topped with a pink and turquoise sombrero and decorated with miniature maracas. One tree, “Let it Sew,” is covered in thread spools and measuring tape, and a dog-themed tree comes with an accessory that mimics a gingerbread house -- only it’s made of doggy bones. There are religious and patriotic trees, traditional trees with bubble lights and trendy ones with peacock feathers. A snowman tree is not just decorated with Frosty ornaments. It literally is a snowman -- a white tree topped with a snowman head, three black bulbs down the front to mimic buttons and black boots at the base.

For many visitors, the trees represent the start of the holiday season. For the museum, they represent the donations that keep operations going.

The Festival of Trees “makes a huge impact,” Whitehead said.

To make a donation, visit www.masmacon.org or call 478-477-3232.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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