Nov. 29, 2009
Festival of Trees Opens at Paramount
Celebrating 25 years of festivals

Story and Photos By Sandee Lloyd
Special to
Ashland, KY (HNN) -- Forget Black Friday. The holiday season is officially here when the Festival of Trees opens at the Paramount in Ashland, KY. 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the festival, which has been attended by more than 200,000. This year's theme is "Celebrating 25 Years of Festivals."
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Entering the historic art deco theatre you see the home décor area, with its colorful array of decorated doors, featuring wreaths and hangings in themes from traditional to whimsical and a group of colorful glass tree toppers in a planter.
In the lobby is the gingerbread house display, featuring the creations of students from area schools and community groups. The houses range from a "Hillbilly Christmas" through country stores, barns, a church, even a beach shack and "The House That Grinch Built." The creativity and workmanship is delightful.
Walking up the steps into the theatre you can't help but be mesmerized by the stunning array of trees in myriad styles and colors. There are elegant trees such as the gorgeous green of "A Tiffany Christmas" and the white and silver of "A Silver Anniversary"; the deeply religious "Emanuel 2009"; unusual designs featuring Pez dispensers "Merry PezzMas" and the Grinch "Who's Christmas." There are trees with traditional designs and pink trees with black ornaments, and even a black tree with an animal theme "Wild Thing."
Miniature trees abound, and feature a toothpick tree reminiscent of the 1960s, trees made from wrenches, feathers, dried flowers and beads, as well as trees featuring western, New York, film, golf and cow themes, and even some that were simply lovely Christmas trees.
Upstairs is the giant train display "Wonderland Railway" with G-scale trains. This is the fifth year for the train layout and it has changed and grown each year. There are many buildings contributed by various artists and brightly lighted trees. Everyone stops to admire the train layout and marvel at the detail displayed in the structures. One of the most fascinating parts is the 13-foot long and 14-foot high wooden bridge suspended over the stairwell.
The trees designed by school children are beautiful and creative and feature themes ranging from the serious "Triple D (Don't Do Drugs)," "H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Everyone at the Right Time)," "C.H.A.N.G.E. (Changing Health and Never Giving Up Ever)," "Hope" and "Peace, Love and Education" through the traditional to fun with "Children's Candy Christmas," "Santa's Luau," "The Ghosts of Christmas Past" and the delightful "Lights.Camera.Action" designed as an old-time theatre showing a movie topped by a tree covered with Hollywood memorabilia. All the school trees are bright and wonderful. There's a pirate tree and one shaped like a flamingo, pink feathers and all.
This year the auction is being handled differently than in previous years. Rather than going home with the highest bidder, the trees will be given to needy families in the area.
The Festival finishes its week-long run on Sunday, November 29. The Festival of Trees is a joy to experience and a holiday tradition in our family. It should be one of yours, too.

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