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Festival of Trees

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Visit the Welcome Center to vote for favorite

By John Barnhart

The Bedford Welcome Center’s fourth annual Festival of Trees is now on display.

    “We have 20 trees this year,” said Sue Trussell, who oversees the project.
    As always, people vote for their favorite tree and each vote costs $1. Each tree is dedicated to a local non-profit organization and all those dollars that accumulate during the festival go to the charity represented by the winning tree.
    There will be one difference this year. Trussell  said  that  the  money  will  be split between the non-profits represented by the top three trees.
    The festival’s theme is “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and the festival committee voted the Business and Professional Women’s tree as the theme tree. Decorations include a long black ribbon that’s been marked to look like a highway. Others are in the shape of states or modes of transportation.
    Many have hand-made ornaments. The Elks National Home has decorations made by residents. The Bower Center’s tree has ornaments made by children on 2nd Fridays. Liberty High School students made Sedalia Center’s ornaments.
    The Bedford County Landfill made its own tree. Last year the tree consisted of plastic drink bottles and cans.
    “It was fun last year when people would try and count the number of cans,” said Judi Jackson, a Welcome Center volunteer.
    This year the landfill made its tree from slats of cardboard —  hundreds of them — rising upward in a spiral. Last year, the Welcome Center knew how many cans were on the landfill tree. This time nobody counted them, so nobody knows. Jackson, however, believes she has a method for counting them, but she will need the help of one other volunteer and they will have to do it after the Welcome Center closes for the day.
    Some trees have decorations based on what the organization that set the tree up does.
    A Lions Club tree features eye charts. The National D-Day Memorial’s trees have photos of the Bedford Boys. The Bedford Humane Society put up a “Charlie Brown tree” accompanied by a photo book of animals that need a home. Even if their tree doesn’t win, the display may help the Humane Society accomplish its mission. Jackson said she’s seen a number of people looking through the book.
    People can see the trees whenever the Welcome Center is open. The Center will stay open late, until 9 p.m. on the three Friday nights before Christmas: Dec. 7, Dec. 14 and Dec. 21. Trussell said they’ll have cookies and hot chocolate those nights.
    As always, the festival features a scavenger hunt for children with prizes. A new feature is a scavenger hunt for adults. The adult prize is a $20 Bedford Main Street gift card which is good at any participating Bedford Main Street business. Trussell said there will be three drawings for these cards each Friday night.