Festival showcases holiday creativity

Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson

If you enjoy looking at decorated Christmas trees, then head over to the Brookings Arts Council for the Festival of Trees.

The theme for this year’s Festival of Trees is “Old Fashioned Christmas.” The theme corresponds with the downtown Parade of Lights, which has floats and/or vehicle entries decorated with lights.

“Some of the trees are really different and some are traditional,” said Nichole Nelson, a senior student who has been to the Festival of Trees a couple of times in the past. “You see some trees and say, ‘Oh, I never would’ve thought of that.'”

Several individuals and groups in the community signed up to decorate a tree in this annual event. Notices were sent out in late September, and anyone in the community was eligible to decorate a tree, said Susan Brugger, executive director of the BAC.

“The goal is to have about 25 trees, but we had a couple late entries this year so it’s a bit more,” said Brugger.

There are two entries from SDSU this year: Roots and Shoots and the South Dakota Art Museum.

“There is no cost to participate and no cost to look at the trees,” said Brugger. “This event has been going for 22 years, but it’s only about the fifth year for the Parade of Lights.”

The BAC has a sweet shop to raise money at the event. There is also a silent auction.

“The silent auction money goes to keeping the lights on and funding for events at the Brookings Arts Council,” said Melanie Kellen, gallery assistant.

Kellen is the only SDSU student currently working at the council, and there are about 10 community members on the council. The BAC creates opportunites for artists to gain recognition, said Brugger.

“This is my third year working at the Festival of Trees. I really enjoy decorating,” said Kellen, a junior visual arts major. “I like getting the lights ready and watching people decorate.”

The Festival of Trees is displayed until Dec. 13. The trees can be seen Monday-Friday from 1-8 p.m., Saturdays 1-6 p.m., Sunday 1-6 p.m. and closing day from 1-8 p.m.

“It’s a lot of fun, and everyone should go,” said Nelson.