Some say there’s an often gentle and sometimes imperceptible balancing act that occurs in nature to maintain equilibrium, requiring a little give for every take. That process of redistribution from one side of the scale to the other feels a bit more deliberate—albeit just as welcome—in our park this time of year. We know when the leaves in Southwest Virginia begin to fall, the trees for the Festival of Trees begin to rise.
The Christmas spirit meets you as soon as you enter the house
In its 16th season, the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park is an incredible feat of community creativity and involvement that leaves all four floors of the stately Victorian home that houses the Museum’s collections lavishly decorated for the holiday season. For members of our community, the coming of the fall and winter seasons go hand-in-hand with that year’s Festival of Trees, and it has become such an important and enduring event, folks may wonder if cooler weather brings the Festival of Trees or the Festival of Trees brings cooler weather.
Doorways and mantles are decorated throughout the house
The tradition of the Festival of Trees began sixteen years ago as a way to celebrate the holiday traditions of the Victorian era as well as to honor the role that President Calvin Coolidge. In 1923, a group from the Electrical League and the Washington, D.C. public schools approached him with an idea for a Christmas tree to be erected on the White House lawn. Mr. Slemp took the idea to the First Lady, Grace Coolidge, who took up the cause. She recommended that the tree be placed on the ellipse south of the White House, and a tradition was born.
Volunteers make the Festival of Trees a memories for the whole family
Volunteers from around the Southwest Virginia region continue these traditions by putting up holiday trees and decorating mantels, doorways, and banisters throughout the Southwest Virginia Museum, sharing their creative talents and holiday spirit with all who come to the site. This year, 80 groups will give their time and talent to create truly beautiful displays.
Visitors can tour the Festival of Trees from November 13th to December 31st during regular Museum hours and during special “night viewings” on November 26, December 3, December 10, and December 17. Admission to the Museum is $4.00 for adults, $2.00 for children ages 6-12, and free of charge for children under 6. Group rates are available for parties of 10 or more.
For more information about the Festival of Trees, please contact the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park at 276-523-1322.