Celebrate Christmas with Festival of Trees

Even Scrooge would get in the holiday spirit gazing at the more than seventy beautifully decorated unique Christmas trees at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum's twenty-second annual Festival of Trees.

Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa with three happy visitors, 2011.

Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa with three happy visitors, 2011.

This family event will be held December 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum, which is located in Micke Grove Park south of Lodi, about one mile west of Highway 99 and south of Armstrong Road.

Docents dressed in vintage Victorian and pioneer clothes will make those attending feel as though they have stepped back in time to celebrate Christmas.

The museum's seven exhibit buildings will be brimming with dozens of festive trees, each decorated according to a unique theme by different individuals and groups from throughout San Joaquin County. The festival also features charming Christmas exhibits, entertainment, model trains, and many activities, including vintage craft demonstrations like wood carving, woodturning, jewelry making, and quilting.

For children, there will be many hands-on activities, including decorating cookies, making cornhusk dolls, dipping candles, and punching tin ornaments. There is a nominal fee of one to three dollars for children to make the crafts. Children also will be able to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, and families can purchase photographs of their children with Santa.

Entertainment will be held throughout both days and includes the dancing of the Unique Vision Dance group, holiday harmonies of the Stockton Portsmen, and bagpipe music of the White Hackle Pipe Band.

Also throughout both days, visitors will be able to rest their weary feet and enjoy riding around the museum grounds on a trackless train. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

In addition to all the holiday festivities and decorated trees, visitors will enjoy the museum's historical exhibits. The county museum features one of the largest collections of tractors, agriculture equipment, and tools west of the Mississippi.

General admission tickets are ten dollars, and one dollar for children two to twelve years old. Children under two are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at the event or in advance at the Music Box in Stockton and Lodi or by calling the museum at (209) 331-2055 or 953-3460. By getting tickets in advance, the six-dollar parking fee into Micke Grove Park is waived.

Festival of Trees is the museum Docent Council's fundraiser of the year. The funds raised at this event support the youth education programs, which include Valley Days and Pioneer School. More than 150 San Joaquin County classes of third- and fourth-graders participate in these two living history museum programs each year where children experience 1880s pioneer life. Other education programs operated throughout the year include museum tours and classroom visits by docents with "Grandmother's Trunk."

For more information, call the museum at (209) 331-2055 or (209) 953-3460, or see www.sanjoaquinhistory.org

Christi Weybret manages publicity for the Museum’s Docent Council.

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