WHEELING - The Festival of Trees 2012 will open Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Wheeling Artisan Center and River City Restaurant with the gala Tuxes & Trees Dinner Dance that will set the stage for a week full of activities for all ages.
The Festival of Trees is in its 26th year as the largest fund-raiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upper Ohio Valley, a United Way agency.
"We prepare all year long for Festival of Trees because we want to present the premier event to open the holiday season for everyone in the Upper Ohio Valley," Judi Tarowsky, Festival chair, said.
T-L Photos/SHAUNNA DUNDER HERSHBERGER
JUDI TAROWSKY, Festival chair, and Shannan Watson, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters prepare for the Festival of Trees, the annual fund-raiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upper Ohio Valley. The event opens Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Wheeling Artisan Center and River City Restaurant with the gala Tuxes & Trees Dinner Dance. Numerous events are planned throughout the course of the Festival.
A scene from last year’s Festival of Trees event.
GET YOUR ugliest holiday sweaters ready for the Craft Beer Sampling and Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest, one of the many fun events taking place during the Festival of Trees, at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 15. Tarowsky, along with Jason Miller, co-owner River City, and Brian Burkle, head cook/kitchen manager River City can’t wait to compete for the ugliest sweater.
"Our decorators make the exhibit space sparkle, and the events we have lined up will offer fun and excitement all week long. The trees and wreaths will go on sale opening night, Nov. 10, and those items that are not sold then will remain on sale all week," Tarowsky said. "It is not an auction, but if you want to make sure you get the tree you want, you want to visit the Festival early."
Tarowsky also suggested that the festival location makes a great location to watch the Fantasy in Lights Parade on Friday, Nov. 16.
"Why not make a reservation for dinner at River City, then come upstairs to enjoy the Festival while you view the parade passing below?" she said. "With Festival admission, we'll have some cookies and hot chocolate on hand to make the evening complete."
Regular Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., unless there is a special event scheduled. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors over 60.
The schedule of special events for Festival of Trees is:
- Tuxes & Trees, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10. Black tie optional. Single admission, $75; couples admission, $150; VIP table for eight, $1,000; tickets include valet parking, gourmet dinner, open bar, dancing to "Night Life," and the sale of trees begins. The VIP tables will each receive champagne and souvenir flutes, as well as table signage. Advance reservations are required.
- Mother-Daughter Dress-Up Tea, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11. $10 per child, $7 per adult and includes photograph and carriage ride.
- The Festival of Trees will be closed Monday, Nov. 12, for observance of Veterans' Day.
- The Times Leader Holiday Cookbook Finals, 1-3 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13. Come cheer on the finalists as they present their entries for judging.
- Italian Night, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13. Admission, $20, includes an authentic Italian meal prepared by the Bellaire Sons of Italy Lodge, including salad, lasagna, homemade sausage and chicken marsala; cash bar; dancing to Italian music by Bob Zatezalo. Advance reservations required.
- Senior Day, 1-3 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14. Our senior citizens are invited to enjoy the festival, along with coffee and donuts.
- World Cuisine Night, 6-9 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14. Tickets, $10 at the door. Enjoy samplings of cuisines from Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Eastern Europe and others while enjoying the choral selections by the John Marshall High School Monarch Choir.
- Craft Beer Sampling and Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest, 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 15. Tickets $15. Sample craft beers and enjoy appetizers from River City Restaurant. Then compete in the Ugliest Holiday Sweater contest, or vote for your favorite. Advance reservations required.
- Teddy Bear Breakfast, 9 a.m. to noon (ongoing seating), Saturday, Nov. 17. Tickets $10 per child, $5 per adult. Enjoy pancakes and sausage, visit Santa Claus, and enjoy face painting. Each child receives a teddy bear to dress as he or she chooses from a selection of crafts items. Advance reservations required.
- Telebration!, 1:30-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17. Experience the fun of live storytelling among the trees. Regular Festival admission required.
- Winter Wine Tasting and Gourmet Food Pairing, 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17. Tickets $35 single admission; VIP table for six, $270. Sample select wines paired with dishes prepared before you by River City chefs. The VIP guests receive cheese on the table, bottles of wine on the table, signage and seating convenient to the food presentation. Advance reservations required.
To purchase tickets and make reservations for Festival of Trees events, please call Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upper Ohio Valley at 304-232-0520.