Expanding the Christmas spirit and drawing eyes to a local history museum is the goal of the Warsaw Festival of Trees, by the Walhonding Valley Historical Society.
The annual holiday parade – with a visit from Santa Claus at the gazebo at the intersection of Main and Bridge streets – will be at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. This will coincide with the official kick-off for the Festival of Trees, featuring more than 20 entries from local businesses and individuals. Co-chairs for the event are Brenda Davis and Bee Lehner.
In 2008, the historical society moved into the former hotel that dates back to 1907. Renovations continue, but the bottom half of the structure has been turned into a home for memorabilia showcasing the west end of Coshocton County. This includes items from past and present businesses, clubs, organizations, military veterans and residents. The museum has everything from American Indian arrowheads to the old post office counter from the Village of Nellie.
“It’s about preservation and education,” Davis said. “So people don’t forget our history, where we came from and what developed this area.”
Davis and Lehner said they were inspired by the Festival of Trees at the Warther Museum and Gardens in Dover with proceeds benefiting Union Hospital. After the local event gets more established, they said they would like to auction off the trees with proceeds benefiting the WVHS and possible other charities.
This is the second year for the Warsaw Festival of Trees and entries are doubled from last year, Davis said. Lehner said about 50 people came in last year following the Santa Parade and they hope that number doubles this time too. Davis said Saturday night will feature a private gala for Walhonding Valley Historical Society members and those sponsoring trees.
“Years ago Coshocton had a couple different festival of trees and we thought it was time to try something like that again and it would encourage people to come into the museum,” Davis said. “It was very successful (last year), the community really embraced it.”
Lehner also appreciates how much people have embraced the museum itself. She said people bring items in almost daily to donate. She knows people of the area are strong in their heritage and that also shows in how the Festival of Trees is taking off in its second year.
“I think’s it good for the community, because it brings people together. It’s good for the museum, because it brings people in, not just for the historical aspect, but for the beauty of the trees and the Christmas spirit,” Lehner said.