ANDERSON, Ind. — It’s a spectacle of holiday delights, sure to bedazzle the wee ones as well as the grown-ups. The 23rd annual Festival of Trees at The Paramount Theatre kicks off this week, and runs through Dec. 7.
The festival makes a great opportunity to soak in the holiday season within the rich ambience of the theater. At the same time, it helps to support the historic venue, which dates to 1929. The festival launches with a gala fundraiser, then the Paramount opens its doors for visitors to enjoy a stunning display of carefully decorated trees and wreaths and a vast display of miniature trains. Special entertainment and performances run throughout the festival as well.
“We have all kinds of events,” said Gayle Jones Burris, executive director of the Paramount. “It’s really cool for all ages especially with the addition of Larry Davenport’s trains.”
Things kick off tomorrow night with the gala and auction. About 300 people have purchased tickets to attend the fundraiser. The party kicks off at 5 p.m. Throughout the course of the evening, each designer-decorated tree and wreath will be auctioned off. Last year’s gala raised more than $40,000, with one of the trees netting more than $4,000.
“That helps pay our bills. It’s operating funds and also for the continued restoration and repair of the theater,” said Burris. The trees remain on display throughout the Festival of Trees before being delivered to their purchasers.
Designers have been at work on the trees since August with the support of their tree sponsors. Most of the trees were decorated right in the basement of the Paramount before being taken up to the ballroom.
“It’s all for fun. It helps us out, and it’s just amazing what these people do,” said Burris. “They get to decide what their theme is.” There’s also a room full of trees decorated on site by area schoolchildren.