Festival of Trees spruces up Moffat County Courthouse into January
Those passing by the Moffat County Courthouse in Craig have a few more days to view more than two dozen Christmas trees inside, each sponsored by a different local nonprofit or business.
The trees are part of the eighth annual Festival of Trees, whose committee chose this year’s theme as “Bold and Beautiful.”
Five judges scored 24 trees vying for prizes — a $500 prize for first, $300 for second, $200 for third, and $100 for fourth. Six other trees were in the running for People’s Choice, said Moffat County United Way’s Kristen Vigil.
“People’s Choice came down to the fire department,” she said. “People were pretty impressed with that one. Cool choice this year.”
Craig Fire/Rescue’s tree won $300 and features firefighting gear at the foot of a tall tree and a ladder to the top next to a life-size Dalmatian. A white fire hose spirals amid red and silver decorations to the top of the tree and a yellow firefighter’s helmet sits at the tree’s peak.
As for the main contest between the area’s non-profits, it was decided using a points system developed by the committee.
“Originality and creativity, ties to the theme, lighting and staging, and overall presentation,” said Betsy Overton, committee member of the Festival of Trees. “They could get extra credit if there were handmade ornaments.”
Vigil said each category was worth a certain number of points.
“There was a total of 100 points. You get 20 points for creativity and originality,” Vigil said. “You get 20 points for tying it to the theme and this year’s theme was bold and beautiful. You get 20 points for lighting and staging, so was the lighting adequate? How was your staging on the floor and how did you stage all your ornaments? Was it neat and the overall appearance of your tree? That all falls under lighting and staging. Then you get an overall presentation for 20 points, then 20 points for handmade ornaments, which is the extra credit.”
Connections 4 Kids won this year’s contest.
“Connections 4 Kids got first,” Vigil said. “Second place went to Open Heart Advocates. That was the rising phoenix with the bricks around it. Third place was Sunset Meadows and they did a Mardi Gras tree. Fourth place was Moffat County Cattlewomen and it was ‘Stand Tall Like a Sunflower.’”
The five judges for the non-profit contest included Sheriff KC Hume, Craig Police Department Captain Bill Leonard, Judge Sandra Gardner, Commissioner Donald Broom, and Councilwoman Andrea Camp.
Vigil pointed out the original purpose of the trees was to thank the community for supporting area nonprofits.
“Originally non-profits would put their tree in, but over time, we’ve really enjoyed having individuals and businesses put in a tree as well because it makes more of an impact,” she said. “This year we have 30 trees. Last year we had 28, I think. We have a few businesses this year. That’s nice. Businesses and all trees are eligible for people’s choice, but first second third place, those are only nonprofits.”
Vigil said the trees will be taken down sometime between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8.
”So if people want to get in there to see them, they’ll have to get in there and do it pretty quick as the year ends,” she said.
The trees go up every year during the Christmas season, but the Festival of Trees committee plans to hold its main event every year on the second Saturday of December and for the Parade of Lights in Craig, “so you can see the beautiful trees in the windows,” Vigil said.
“People spend a lot of time and effort into making those trees. We really enjoy when the community comes and supports us. Come look at it,” Vigil said. “We’ll have it next year too. Every year it’s impactful. It’s important.”