Brisk December Weather Greets Festival of Trees Crowd

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

Symphanique and her mom (not shown) Shalawrae Shogan of McKeesport visit with Santa Claus during the opening on Thursday night of McKeesport's 33rd annual Festival of Trees. (All photos: Vickie Babyak, special to Tube City Almanac)

With blustery weather designed to put dreams of a snowy Christmas into everyone's bones, McKeesport's 33rd annual Festival of Trees opened Thursday at Jacob Woll Pavilion.

The annual celebration of the holidays --- and of the creativity of more than 90 local groups and churches who have created hand-decorated ornaments for their Christmas trees --- is open from 12 noon to 9 p.m., now through Monday.

Admission is $2 for adults. Children age 12 and under are admitted free with one canned good for a needy family.

By the time of Thursday's tree lighting ceremony at the corner of Arboretum and Sycamore drives --- and the arrival of Santa on a McKeesport Fire Department truck --- snow and ice were falling, temperatures had dropped to the low 20s and a stiff wind was blowing.

But that didn't seem to discourage visitors, who stood in line to get their photos taken with the North Pole visitor.

McKeesport Councilman Keith Soles says this year's Festival of Trees may be the largest ever, with 94 trees at the Jacob Woll Pavilion and more trees nearby at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center and the Garden Club of McKeesport.

Parking is available in the area around Jacob Woll Pavilion for people with handicapped placards and license plates, only, a spokeswoman said. Other visitors should park in the lots near the senior center and arboretum.

The event also includes a menu of hot meals provided by McKeesport Area culinary students, a bake sale by the Semper Fidelis Club and hayrides through Renziehausen Park.

Above: the McKeesport Festival of Trees Committee includes (back row) Harold Allen, Recreation Director Jim Brown and Soles. In the front row, Janet Zosack, Pat Harris and Cheryl Cotter with two puppies that came for Santa pictures.

Santa and kids waiting with families.

Laura Green, JoAnne Rodgers, Paula Robinson and Renee Easley are members of Semper Fidelis Club of McKeesport and are selling baked goods to raise money for scholarships. (All photos: Vickie Babyak, special to Tube City Almanac. For reprints, email


List of trees on display

AIU McKeesport Family Center

Altrusa International of McKeesport

Angora Garden Junior Gardeners

Beulah Park United Methodist Church

Brightside Academy McKeesport

CANOES After School Program

Carnegie Library of McKeesport

Christy Park United Methodist Church

Clairton Eastern Star

Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church

Cub Scout Pack No. 53

Curves of East McKeesport

Duquesne City School District

East Allegheny Meals on Wheels

Faith Lutheran Church, White Oak

Farmers Insurance

Fawcett Plan Task Force

Francis McClure Elementary School

Free Hungarian Reformed Church

Garden Club of McKeesport

Girl Scout Troop No. 46710

Girl Scout Troop No. 58112

Institute on Aging, UPMC McKeesport

JMD Foundation

Joyful Bloomers Garden Club

Mary of Nazareth Catholic School, White Oak

McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service

McKeesport Area High School Art Department

McKeesport Area High School National Honor Society

McKeesport Area High School Robotics Club

McKeesport Area High School Student Council

McKeesport Area Ministerium

McKeesport Area School District Central Administration

McKeesport Area School District Community Outreach Liaisons

McKeesport Area School District Pre-K Counts

McKeesport Art Group

McKeesport Business and Professional Women's Club

McKeesport City Council

McKeesport City Hall Employees

McKeesport College Club

McKeesport Fire Department

McKeesport First Steps Parenting Program

McKeesport Housing Authority

McKeesport Kiwanis Club

McKeesport Lions Club

McKeesport Little Tigers

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko

McKeesport Police Department

McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center

McKeesport Mayor's Select Committee on Crime and Violence

McKeesport Toastmasters

McKeesport Trail Commission

Miss Vicki's Stringed Instruments

Mon Valley School

Mon Yough Community Services

NAMI McKeesport

NAPA Auto Parts of White Oak

Nuttall Public Safety Equipment LLC

Park Baptist Church, Versailles

Paws Across Pittsburgh

Penn State at Founders' Hall Talent Search

Praise Christian Academy, North Versailles Twp.

Promise Hospice

Propel McKeesport, Grade 6


Queen Alliquippa Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution

Rainbow Girls, Hope Assembly No. 186

St. Agnes Catholic School, West Mifflin

St. Patrick Catholic Religious Education Program

St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church School

Salvation Army of McKeesport

Semper Fidelis Club of McKeesport

South Allegheny High School Art Class

South Allegheny High School S.A.D.D. Program

South Allegheny Middle School Life Skills Program

Stamp Out Hunger Letter Carriers

State Sen. Jim Brewster

Stay Safe: Francis McClure and Twin Rivers

Strifflers Family Funeral Home

Strifflers Beloved Pet Services

Teen Elect

Twin Rivers Elementary School

United Volunteer Fire & Rescue

UPMC McKeesport Hospital

Ventures in People

Versailles Borough

The Well Ministries

West Mifflin Area High School, National Honor Society

White Oak Animal Safe Haven

Young Scholars of McKeesport Charter School

Snack bar menu

Hot dog, hot sausage, meatball hoagie, BBQ pulled pork, kielbasa, haluski, pasta salad, nacho chips with cheese, soup of the day, chocolate chip cookies, soft drinks, coffee, hot chocolate

Schedule of entertainment


12:30 p.m.: McKeesport Area High School A Capella Choir, Chamber Strings and Jazz Band
2 p.m.: Founders' Hall Middle School Chorus
4 p.m.: West Mifflin Area High School Titan Chorus
6 p.m.: Cathasaigh


1 p.m.: Mikey Dee
2 p.m.: St. Angela Church Choir
3 p.m.: Ed Lutheran
4 p.m.: Daughters of His Grace
6 p.m.: Signs of Faith


12 noon: Bill Barnes
2 p.m.: Chalice
4 p.m.: Heartbeat
6 p.m.: Scott Schmitt
7 p.m.: Miss Vickie's String Instruments


12:30 p.m.: AIU Community Singers
7:30 p.m.: Joey Young

Originally published December 07, 2018.

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