BY PETER BORTNER
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN — Jacqueline Engel said Saturday she thinks the inaugural Festival of Trees at the Walk In Art Center will become the cornerstone of the borough’s Christmas celebration.
“We’d like it to be a big fun thing that involves the entire community,” Engel, the center’s executive director, said on the opening day of the festival, which runs through Dec. 5 at the 220 Parkway facility.
The event will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays. It will be closed Sundays and Thanksgiving.
Engel would like to see the festival grow into an essential part of Schuylkill Haven’s holiday festivities after the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic ends.
“If it grows, it would be really fun,” she said. “It’s a good event to kick off the holidays.”
The two-week event, sponsored by Renewal by Andersen, features 16 Christmas trees decorated in many colors and styles. Some are brightly lit, some not lit at all, all festooned with decorations of red, or green, or white, or blue, or several hues mixed together to create striking images for the merriest of seasons.
“It gives something positive and something uplifting to the community that people can come in and see,” said Jennifer Mengel, one of the assistants at the center. “Build a little bit of Christmas spirit.”
Mengel said the event also is a fundraiser for the center and, to a lesser extent, other arts organization
She said people who visit the festival can bid on the trees. The high bidder on each gets to take the tree home at the end of the festival, Mengel said.
“All of the trees have a different starting bid on them, depending on the size, the elaborateness,” she said.
Mengel said the sale proceeds go to either the center or the organization that sponsors the tree. Those organizations include The Arts Barn, the Actors Guild and Block of Art, she said.
There also will be auction items in addition to the trees, according to Engel.
Engel said she hopes more groups, including Scout troops, social clubs, civic organizations and businesses, participate in the future.
“For the most part, they were decorated in house,” she said of the trees.
People also will get a chance to vote, for free, on the fan favorite tree and the most Christmassy tree, according to Mengel.
She also said for Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30, artists will be at the festival.
A family can make the festival a cornerstone of its own celebration, according to Engel.
“It’s a great place to get a family photo,” she said.
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