Remember When: Putting Up the Christmas Tree

Christmas TreeUnless you were the ambitious sort that got your Christmas tree up after Thanksgiving, you might be working on that task this weekend.  We asked the editors of The Bloomsburg Daily to think back to putting up their trees and recall the good, the bad, and the ugly of the event.

Kristin Camplese doesn’t really remember where her family would get the tree, just the arguments (or “discussions” as parents call them) about getting the tree in the stand.  “Pre-drilled stands didn’t exist and it required parents holding the tree and screwing in the stand simultaneously, which inevitably ended up with a crooked tree and some not-so-magical holiday memories. It was all good in the end when the tree was decorated and my dad’s train was circling around it, but there were always some pretty sketchy moments leading up to that.”

Bob Rush said this: “My dad would always have a tree. Being in business he had friends that sold them. He would always put it up on empty egg cases and put the train around it. I alway liked the bubble lights. In the 60s my mom got a new aluminum tree! They were the thing then. They shined a lite on it with rotating colors. I was always more interested in what was under it!”

Not all trees were the kind you had to cut down. Cole Camplese recalls going to the attic in his Grandmother Camplese’s house in Wheeling, WV where they would pull out a fully decorated (lights and all) aluminum tree. “It was a spectacular silvery blue color, to this day I’ve never seen anything like it!”

What are your Christmas tree memories?  Real or fake tree? Where did you go to get it?  What adventures did you encounter?  Were you a colored or white lights family?  Which ornaments do you remember in particular?  Did you have tree drama (a victim of it tipping over, perhaps?), or did you have interesting or fun traditions?  Tell us all about it!

Local Volunteers Prepare for TreeFest ’11

Members of Bloomsburg University’s Alpha Tau Omega fraternity Cub Scout Pack 33, and other volunteers help set up TreeFest Saturday morning, 19 November at the Caldwell Consistory.

TreeFest will be held November 25, 26 and 27, and December 2, 3 and 4.

TreeFest Heralds Holidays’ Beginning

Tree FestCelebrating the unique connection between the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s commitment of bringing live, professional theatre to our region and the Town of Bloomsburg, TreeFest once again heralds the beginning of the local holiday season. This year, TreeFest will be held November 25, 26 and 27, and December 2, 3 and 4 at the Caldwell Consistory, located north of the town fountain at 150 Market Street.

Tree FestThe celebration begins with the area’s growers donating over 140 trees, then hundreds of people including community volunteers, youth groups, florists and garden clubs set up and decorate the rooms and trees which are each sponsored by area businesses or individuals. TreeFest ends with the trees, decorations and other gifts going to area families in need, as identified by local social service agencies.

Throughout the event, a variety of entertainment is provided including school choirs, dance groups and folk musicians performing in front of a seasonal mural. Story times and art experiences for children are scheduled throughout both weekends. Visitors will be able to start their Christmas shopping at the dozens of professional craft artisans displaying their wares for sale.

But TreeFest has grown into so much more. A special Chinese auction, a children’s coloring contest and the raffling of a spectacular quilt are some of the other highlights. The gala Chamber After Hours is set for Nov. 29 beginning at 4.30, and the Rotary Christmas party takes place Dec. 1. TeaFest, an elegant Scottish high tea, will be presented by Sharon Duff at the Caldwell Consistory on Monday, Nov. 28 at 1:00 p.m.

First-year TreeFest chairperson Bonnie Crawford has enjoyed her learning experiences. “Seeing all that goes into putting this together, I never realized how many months of preparation it took,” she said. “Now I am just excited to see it all come together.” Crawford is quick to thank the many volunteers who contribute to TreeFest’s success. “I am also extremely appreciative of the fantastic people on the various committees. This is a truly dedicated team of volunteers who work countless hours to make this happen.” 

TreeFest counts on hundreds of volunteers over the two-week period, and children continue to be actively involved. Local schools participate in a Gingerbread house building contest, guides take young children on special tours, and students from Bloomsburg, Central Columbia and Bloomsburg University help in a variety of ways but most especially as part of tear down, clean up and tree distribution which mark the end of TreeFest activities.

Official parking behind the Columbia County Court House will be available on weekends. Bring your $2.00 discount admission coupon and visit www.treefest.org for specific hours.

Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble is celebrating 34 years of bringing live, professional theatre to the Bloomsburg and regional community. All TreeFest proceeds benefit BTE.

Article by Sam Bidleman
Photos by Marlin Wagner