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Festival of Trees adds new twist to Cottage Grove Holiday Train festivities

Mr. and Mrs. Claus watched the City Hall tree lighting last year. The Arts Commission is hoping to have 12 trees sponsored and decorated at the Dec. 9 Holiday Train stop. RiverTown Multimedia file photo

The arts will be a part of the Holiday Train festivities like never before.

The Cottage Grove Arts Commission is launching a new program called Festival of Trees for decorating enthusiasts, businesses and organizations as a Holiday Train fundraiser.

Arts Commission member Joe Kovarik is heading up the initiative, with the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" serving as a theme.

"It gives it a little more definition," he said. "And adds the fun of Christmas music and the gift-giving aspect of the song."

Any group that pays the $250 to sponsor and decorate one of 12 trees that were donated to the commission is asked to bring their own decorations and to style the tree after either one of the gifts, or represent all 12 in one tree.

Groups will be provided with the tree and electricity; the rest is up to them and their creativity.

At $250 a pop, the event will add $3,000 to the Holiday Train organization's 15th anniversary goal to break a million across all those years.

The trees will be decorated "snow or shine," Kovarik said, on the day of the Train, Dec. 9. The trees will be available to decorate around noon, and though organizers are still working on a site map, hope they can create a corridor of lit and styled trees for attendees to walk through.

The trees are first come, first served, and there are only a couple left to claim, Kovarik said.

After the Holiday Train has rolled out, the sponsors can take their trees to their business, their home or someplace like a nursing home, Kovarik said.

He doesn't know if this will be a recurring event, but said he's "a believer that the second year is always better than the first, and the third better than the second."