The Festival of trees continues to work its magic with visitors.
Hundreds of visitors turned out on Friday to walk through the enchanted forest of decorated trees that has reached its sixth year in the Neshannock Township school's middle gym.
The festival continues today from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults. Children age 10 and younger are admitted free. Proceeds benefit the New Castle Public Library and the Neshannock Township Education Foundation.
"It's been steady," volunteer Lindsey Vatter said of the crowd. "It's been a good turnout."
Volunteers began last Friday to put together the trees, which come from Kranyak's in Hermitage or Lowe's. The trees are then assembled by volunteers and professional decorators.
"Each one has a theme," Vatter said of the trees that highlight Mr. Rogers, Star Wars, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frozen, Christmas Ballet, a Christmas at the Arcade Tree with Pac-Man, A Christmas Story, as well as various winter and holiday themes.
"They area all beautifully decorated," Vatter said, noting that some decorators, including Dinia Kollar who offered the upside down Rudolph Tree and the Bake Shop Tree make their own ornaments.
She noted that after walking through and appreciating the 29 trees, patrons may visit almost 60 vendors and food providers set up in the school's cafeteria and elementary gym where entertainment is taking place. A face painting station and craft table were set up for children, sponsored by the public library, are also available.
The event is also partnering this year with the Neshannock Township Police Department who parked a police car in front of the school and invites patrons to "Stuff a Christmas Cruiser" with toys, toiletries, non-perishable food and clothing. All donated items must be new. They will be distributed to township residents in need.
Visitors also may participate in a raffle to purchase 27 of the decorated trees and all of the 10 decorated wreaths. Winners may claim their prizes on Sunday after the festival closes. The only trees not available were the 12-foot Sponsor's Tree which recognized the festival's five major sponsors, and a tree specifically decorated for Ed and Don DeCarbo Funeral Home.
"We save all of the boxes that the ornaments came in," Vatter said. "After the show is over, the people who bought the trees may undecorate the tree and pack everything back into its box, take it home and redecorate in their home, or we can divide the tree into sections, wrap each in plastic and they can take it home and put it together."
Vatter said the winning tickets will be drawn live on the festival's Facebook site on Saturday.
"We're taking a chance on a tree, but we're probably just making a donation," said Bob Lizewski of Neshannock Township as he and his wife, Carol, examined the trees. "They do a nice job."
Major sponsors of the Festival of Trees this year are Lawrence County Community Action Partnership, First Choice Federal Credit Union, Neshannock Township supervisors, Ed and Don DeCarbo Funeral Home and Dr. Ryan Nebel Family Dentistry.
The entertainment schedule for Saturday is:
10 a.m. — Lancer Midget Majorettes.
11 a.m. — Neshannock Midget Lancerettes.
Noon — Adriana Antuono.
1 p.m. — Ludovici Dance Academy.
2 p.m. — Pennsylvania Martial Arts Academy.
3 p.m. — New Castle Youth Cheer.
4 p.m. — New Castle Junior Mints.
5 p.m. — New Castle Candy Canes.
5:30 p.m. — Allyson Hood.