GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - The annual Festival of Trees has been around as long as its hosting site, the Mary G. Harden Center for Cultural Arts in Gadsden.
This year the theme is First Ladies of the United States. Visitors who pay admission to the Center will find 32 Christmas trees, each dedicated to a different first lady, from Martha Washington and Abigail Adams, to Michelle Obama and Melania Trump.
Most, but not all, of the trees are decorated by school children in the area.
"Local elementary schools and non-profits, design the trees, and decorate them themselves," says Tom Banks, deputy director of the CCA,
“Mostly using recycled ornaments upon the theme, that they’ve researched themselves about each first lady this year, then put the ornaments and trees together based upon that,” says Banks.
The schools and non-profits picked the First Ladies of their choice on a first-come, first-serve basis, and research the life of each one based on their projects and philanthropy work. We saw trees dedicated to Nancy Reagan, Betty Ford, Mamie Eisenhower, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton, Barbara and Laura Bush, Lucy Hayes and perhaps the most beloved of all: Dolly Madison.
Saturday will be “Polar Express Day” at the center and will feature a free visit from Santa himself. Santa will visit and refreshments will be served, free of charge, in the CCA lobby from 10 a.m. until noon, and the Polar Express Train will be behind the center from 10-2 with its own admission charge.