NANTICOKE – Luzerne County Community College's Educational Conference Center was filled with visions and tones of the holiday season on Friday night. The opening of the college's third annual Festival of Trees provided opportunity for area residents to celebrate the season while raising money for Wyoming Valley chapter of the American Red Cross.
Area businesses and organizations provided and decorated the trees, which lined the center's hallway, itself adorned in various colors and themes.
The trees were awash, not just in traditional red and green, but purple, gold, blue, orange and a variety of other colors. Branches held Christmas balls, angels, snow people, tiny houses, paper flowers, all evidence of creativity and hard work.
Carol Shedlock of Plains Township, designer of Classic Properties' offering, included a variety of tiny houses accentuated by white lights.
Home for the holidays seems like a perfect thought for the season, said Shedlock, and it's especially nice that we can benefit the Red Cross.
Julianna Zarzycki from the Nanticoke Historical Society said the group had taken first place last year and was giving their best again this year with a tree highlighting the history of the area.
All ages seemed to truly enjoy the event, as, cocoa in hand, they made their way down Christmas tree lane commenting on their favorites.
Every year, my children look forward to the Frosty the Snowman tree, said Shelly Rodgers, Mountain Top.
Rodger's twins, Holly and Matt, 2, and Jack, 3, donned red holiday sweaters and big smiles. The three looked forward to every part of the event, from the Christmas trees filled with glittery color to the whipped cream on the hot chocolate.
The Dallas Area Middle School Select Chorus provided music for the event and attendees expressed delight upon hearing the first sounds of the season.
Kelly Maniskas, Dallas, whose daughter Rachel was among the singers, said she especially appreciated the college opening its doors to the community, providing time for family.
Chorus director Holli Major said the conference center provided the perfect backdrop for presentation of holiday music.
What a wonderful musical start for the season, said Major.
The event was filled with young and old, all seeming to be taking time out to focus on the beauty of the holidays.
It's an opportunity for people to begin the season with their family, said Becky Brominski, director of the Educational Conference Center at LCCC, and it's free and open to the public.
Attendees voted for one of 12 trees at $1 per vote. All money raised is directed to the Red Cross and will be used to benefit area residents during crisis.
The trees will be on display until Dec. 22 during regular business hours. The winning tree will be announced on Friday.