LOGAN — Hocking County agencies have once again put their skills to the test with the annual Celebration of Trees at The Bowen House this December.

In the early 90s, when The Bowen House was first opening, organizers wanted to do something special to welcome the public into the new culture center. The Hocking Valley Community Hospital has a “Celebration of Lights” in the winter and so The Bowen House decided to host the Celebration of Trees.

“It started as kind of a casual, what can we do to open the doors to the public kind of event and it’s just grown from there. That first year we had 19 live trees,” mentioned Susan Dietz, who is the president of the board for The Bowen House.

Dietz noted that she has no trouble receiving enough people who want to set up their trees for the event. She sends out applications to schools, churches, businesses and individuals that have expressed their interest in the event and she gets about a 50 percent return.

In fact, “If anything, I begin to think, will I have room for that one,” Dietz noted.

One by one people make an appointment or come in during open hours to set up their tree. According to Dietz, the environment is fun because there could be a group of school children and a group of older women setting up their trees at the same time.

This year the event has 19 trees, including the one that won People’s Choice last year. In the Beginnings by Christmas Treasures was the 2017 People’s Choice award winner brought back to display this year.

The tree is decorated with verses from the Book of Genesis attached and ornaments of various-colored round ornaments. This tree commemorated the first lunar orbit on Dec. 24, 1968. While in space, the first astronauts were asked to “do something appropriate” by their supervisor at NASA and the four men all took turns reading from the Book of Genesis.

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Hocking County members named their tree Happy Birthday and wrapped it in colorful paper machete with ribbons tied throughout the branches. Gold glittering signs of hope hang on the branches throughout and represent the battle each individual has gone through.

The Buckeye tree by the Four Seasons Garden Club has their tree wrapped in silver and red garland with red ribbon, pinecones and buckeyes for ornaments.

The 1840s tree by George Johnson is a slim and small tree with ornaments of fruit, gold painted walnuts and older images of Santa and angels.

The St. John Catholic School decorated Jesus, Light of the World, which stands tall with ornaments of shepherds, angels, stars and sheep — all made by children.

The Cards for a Cause tree by The Card Ladies is a smaller tree decorated in bright blue lights. The tree has an array of cards hanging from the tree as ornaments that are $2 if folks are interested in purchasing one. The funds raised by the cards are going to the Smith Chapel Food Pantry.

It’s a Curlicue Christmas by the Logan-Hocking School District’s honors eighth grade art class created their tree very uniquely. The tree has bare branches painted white with paper ornaments rolled tightly to create unique shapes, designs and figures into ornaments — hence the name curlicue.

The Rainbow Girls made Bows, Pearls, and Rainbow Girls that has a string of pearls wrapped around the tree as garland with little pink toy pigs and tulle in shades of orange, pink and blue decorated throughout the branches.

Other trees include Peanut’s Christmas, Sparkey the Christmas Tree, A Head Start Christmas, The Mysterious Mind of a Middle Schooler, Let it Snow, A Sweet Christmas, Angel Tree, Jingle Bells of Blessings, Snuggle Up With a Good Book, A New Home for the Holidays and An Old-Fashioned Christmas.

Dietz said she is always amazed at how the community comes together to set up the event within only four days.

“It’s just wonderful how this community does it, no questions asked. Linda Hayward decorates all the fresh greens that you see on the outside of the house every year and it’s just something she does for us,” remarked Dietz.

Out of all the events The Bowen House schedules, Dietz feels this one is her favorite this time of year.

“I just think — it’s two-fold — it’s the number of people there setting it up and gathering together as a community to do that and then the number of school children that come through with the teachers that take the time to have the children bring books to read while they’re sitting up the trees or to do stories in the main room. To me that’s community, period,” concluded Dietz.

Be sure to visit The Bowen House to vote for your favorite tree before the end of December. Also, anyone interested in featuring a tree in the Celebration of Trees next year, contact The Bowen House at 740-385-0344 during the hours of Wednesday through Friday from 2 to 5 p.m.

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