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In another sure sign that Christmas is just around the corner, McKeesport's 31st annual Festival of Trees opens Thursday at Renziehausen Park's Jacob Woll Pavilion.
Hours are 12 noon to 9 p.m. Thursday through Monday (Dec. 5). Admission is $2 for adults and free for children 12 and under who bring a canned good for donation to local food pantries.
Refreshments will be provided by culinary arts students from McKeesport Area High School, while the city's Semper Fidelis Club will operate a bake sale.
Also open during the Festival of Trees are the nearby McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center and the Garden Club of McKeesport with special Christmas themed events.
This year's Festival of Trees includes 84 Christmas trees from schools, clubs, churches, civic organizations and businesses, lighted and most of them elaborately decorated with handmade ornaments representing a theme or cause.
Children may write letters to Santa each day, and there will be a Christmas ornament "scavenger hunt" for kids as well.
In addition, all visitors will be asked to vote for their favorite trees for the "People's Choice" awards.
Santa Claus will be present from 12 noon to 4 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1 to 4, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 5.
A hay ride will be operated through Renzie from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Monday, and from 12 noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.
Live entertainment will be provided each day during the festival:
Thursday, Dec. 1
- 12:00 - AIU
- 6:30 - Cathasaigh
Friday, Dec. 2
- 12:00 - MAHS Show Choir
- 12:30 - MAHS Women’s Ensemble
- 1:00 - MAHS Chamber Strings
- 1:30 - MAHS Brass Ensemble
- 6:00 - St. Angela Merici Youth and Adult Choir
- 7:00 - CrossVision
Saturday, Dec. 3
- 2:30 - Ed Lutheran
5:30 - Chalice
7:30 - Signs of Faith
Sunday, Dec. 4
- 1:00 - Bill Barnes
- 6:00 - Christ Temple AME Church
- 7:00 - The LoveTones
Monday, Dec. 5
- 4:00 - West Mifflin Choir and String Ensemble
The McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center will be open from 12 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1 to 4 with free admission. The gift shop will be open with McKeesport-related items for sale, and there will be fresh popcorn, hot chocolate, a free raffle and crafts for children.
Visitors also may take chances on raffle baskets.
There will be storytelling from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, and on Sunday from 1 to 2, with guest author Bud Geissler reading “The Fairy Clause?”
The neighboring Garden Club of McKeesport building will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 1 to 4 with free admission. There will be a Kids' Corner Christmas Shop, raffle baskets, handmade gifts and crafts related to gardening, and fresh wreathes, swags and kissing balls.
Originally published November 30, 2016.