November 24, 2012

Tree contemplation, antidote to holiday hustle-bustle

KEESEVILLE — Take a time-out from the holiday frenzy at the third-annual Keeseville Community Festival of Trees Open House.

The three-day family event, Friday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 2, is hosted by the Keeseville Good Shepherd Church of the Nazarene at 124 Hill St.

“We started it three years ago because there wasn’t much going on in our area, and we have a beautiful handicapped-accessible facility,” said Debbie Reese, festival coordinator.

“We invited anybody who could to put up a family-friendly tree. We wanted it to be a family event. They could represent an organization or their business. We distributed flyers. Several initially responded, and we put up several trees.”

Model-train collector Carl Kokes decorated one room with his passion.

“We had a concert and did some casual caroling around the piano,” Reese said. “The next year, interest increased. More people knew what it was. This year, we introduced workshops. We asked a master gardener (Jolene Wallace) to do a workshop on natural-wreath making. People can watch.”

There is a second workshop on hand-stamped gift tags.

“We thought it (would be) fun for people to do something Christmas-related. People can make gift tags and take them home,” she said.

The wreath workshop is at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30. The gift-tag workshop is from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.

“On Saturday, we have a concert at 2 p.m. Carl Kokes is bringing his violin students. The AuSable Valley Girl Scouts are doing a tree for the first time this year. They are doing caroling from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday,” Reese said.

Throughout the three-day event, the church building will be open.

“People are welcome to come and walk through the building,” Reese said. “The building will be full of trees. Last year, we had trees of all sizes from a foot to 7 feet. We have nine classrooms and a fellowship hall, and a large tree and village of Bethlehem in the sanctuary.”

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