The 11th annual Festival of Trees, to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley, opened to the public Friday at 2 p.m. The family-friendly, 10-day event runs daily through Nov. 24.
The Festival includes more than 30 large (7’ tall) beautifully decorated Christmas trees and tableaus and more than 60 smaller “tabletop” trees, said Ronda Chobanian, development director of the Boys & Girls Club of SCV Foundation.
“We have 30 gorgeous wreaths for sale this year, too,” she said.
Nancy Olmos, chairwoman of the Festival’s gingerbread house contest, said 100 gingerbread houses are on display.
The houses were made by a variety of contributors from youth groups to people taking classes from Olmos.
After people drop off the finished houses Olmos stores them at her home until she sets the houses up on two long tables at the Festival.
“Luckily I have a two-story home,” said Olmos, owner of Clarice’s Cake and Candy Supplies in Newhall. “I have them in the bedrooms, in the kitchen, everywhere.”
Olmos said the secret to making a successful gingerbread house is all in the icing.
“Use Royal icing,” she said. “Use sturdy icing and be patient. Put the roof on last, not first.”
Olmos said the building a gingerbread house is a great tradition to begin with your family.
“It’s a great way to get together,” she said. “There’s a lot of love on this table.”
The always anticipated tree contributed by Six Flags Magic Mountain and decorated by 22-year- employee Donna Bendell of Six Flags will have the theme “Delivering the Magic.”
Bendell was still installing the finishing touches on the tree Thursday afternoon.
“I work better under pressure,” she said.
Chobanian said the Magic Mountain tree is always one of the highlights of the Festival.
“This year’s theme is very clever with all the ways to deliver gifts, there’s a helicopter hovering above and a train that runs through the tree,” she said. “It’s fun to see all the ways Santa delivers his magic. The tree also includes season passes and other fun things from Magic Mountain.”
In addition to the trees, gingerbread houses and wreaths the Festival will include visits with Santa and a variety of fun crafts and activities in the Kids’ Corner. The Kids’ Corner will require an additional activity ticket. The Kids’ Corner will only be open on certain days, check the Festival schedule dates and times.
In addition, singers, musicians, dancers and more will be featured on the stage throughout the Festival, and strolling magicians will be on hand to provide entertainment.
The Festival will also offer additional events including:
Friday, Nov. 15, 7 to 10 p.m. – Jingle Jam Swing a night of swing dancing.
Saturday, Nov. 16, 6 p.m. – Holiday Hocus Pocus an Evening of Magic – Part 1.
Sunday, Nov. 17, noon to 6 p.m. – Photos with Santa. $5 or take your own photo for a suggested donation of $3.
Friday, Nov. 22, 6 p.m. – Holiday Hocus Pocus an Evening of Magic – Part 2.
Saturday, Nov. 23, 6:30 to 11:00 p.m. – Magic of the Lights Gala and Tree Auction.
Sunday, Nov. 18, 5 to 7 p.m. – Silent auction bid board closing.
Tickets to the Festival are $6 for ages 15 and older; $3 ages 4 to 14 and $4 senior 65+. Children 3 and under are free.
A $1 off coupon is available on the Festival of Trees page of the Boys & Girls Club website at http://www.scvbgc.org/images/stories/festivaloftrees/fotwebcoupon13.pdf.
Festival of Trees will be open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17. Monday through Thursday, Nov. 18-21 the festival hours will be 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Boys & Girls Club of SCV was founded in 1968 by a group of community leaders who recognized the need for high-quality, affordable programs and facilities for the youth of the SCV. The Club is a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, an organization with more than 4,000 clubs nationwide and serves more than 2,000 area SCV youth at facilities in Newhall and Canyon Country.
“Festival of Trees takes a lot of effort, from a lot of people, to all come together,” said Chobanian. “I am so grateful for all the volunteers and all the people who have worked so hard on this event.”
Festival of Trees is located on The Patios at the Westfield Valencia Town Center between Sears and Wokano. The Festival is open today through Nov. 24. For a complete schedule of Festival of Trees activities and opening and closing times visit www.scvbgc.org.