Moffat County’s Festival of Trees branches out |

Moffat County’s Festival of Trees branches out

Siblings Audrey, 5, and Carson Laehr, 8, marvel at the entries in the third annual Festival of Trees on Saturday afternoon in the Moffat County Courthouse. Pictured are entries sponsored by businesses and nonprofit organizations themed after Christmas songs, including, from left, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" by Friends of the Moffat County Libraries; "One Small Child" by Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center; and "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" by T & H Napa Auto Parts.
Andy Bockelman

If you go

What: Festival of Trees

When: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through Jan. 9

Where: Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way

Details: The third annual event will feature extended hours 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday with special holiday activities. For more information, call 970-824-6222.

— Aglow with lights and decorations, the dozens of Christmas trees that line the second floor of the Moffat County Courthouse have been bringing loads of joy for all who see them this season.

The third annual Festival of Trees, hosted by Moffat County Youth United Way and Moffat County High School Key Club, has been packed with visitors regularly ever since the month began, and more keep showing up, especially when there are more elements to it.

Moffat County United Way Executive Director Corrie Ponikvar said this year’s event continues to see a great turnout.

“We’ve done a lot more promoting it and having a lot more activities, and people have just loved it,” she said. “We’re so glad so many people are coming out, and I think it even gives people a reason to stay home for Christmas instead of going out of town.”

Saturday was a special day for the festival, as spectators were treated to hot chocolate, carriage rides by the Anson family and live music from the Bolton family and the local school bands, as directed by John Bolton.

A drawing for $250 in Spree Bucks was won by Danny Arnold, while Oscar and Sandra King were the winning bidders for an auction of a tree donated by Unique Expressions.

Ponikvar said she wanted to thank everyone who helped provide entertainment, but the merriment isn’t over yet. The festival will have another special event Thursday with extended hours that will include caroling and other fun highlights, including the announcement of the People’s Choice winners among the tree entries.

Contest judges already have named exhibits by Friends of the Moffat County Libraries, Connections 4 Kids, Moffat County Cattlewomen and the Community Budget Center as the top trees, but the popular vote is still available with tokens, and those who view the display can pick their favorites.

There are 30 trees total from local nonprofits and businesses, each representing a holiday or wintertime song, from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Grand Futures Prevention Coalition to Friends of Moffat County Education’s “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”

Chelsea and Nicholas Mead couldn’t make up their minds as to which they preferred between Connections 4 Kids’ “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and Yampa Valley Bank’s tribute to Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas.”

“I love it all, the hot chocolate, the music, the trees — everything’s been great,” Chelsea Mead said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or