By Margot LeSage Regan
---- — HAVERHILL — Hillies don’t have far to travel for a dose of Christmas spirit.
The 11th annual “Christmas at the Buttonwoods: Festival of Trees,” opens this Friday at the Water Street Museum and features more than 130 trees, wreaths and assorted auction items, according to Thomas Spitalere, Chairman of the event. This annual event raises money for the museum which preserves and honors the city’s history.
Brightly colored trees and wreaths adorn the museum, showcasing the talent of local businesses, community organizations and individuals. Trees decorated with handmade jewelry, crafted by a local artisan, to an ocean-themed tree with a mermaid tree-topper to trees featuring the Boston Red Sox and Snoopy. There are also table-top trees and exquisitely decorated wreaths.
All trees and wreaths will be raffled off after the close of the festival on Dec. 10, said Spitalere. Prizes are also awarded to the participants in categories like most creative.
“This event just keeps growing every year,” said Spitalere as he took a break from setting up the festival last week.
New this year is a Candlelight tour of the Buttonwoods Museum on Saturday, Nov. 24. Visitors can take a candlelight stroll around the old Victorian home, getting a sneak peak of what life was like in Haverhill during the Victorian era.
“This is just a great holiday event,” said Spitalere. “It’s great to get into the holiday spirit and to share some community spirit.”
He added that it isn’t just locals who come to this event. In the past, people have even come from as far away as Ohio to check out the trees. To keep things interesting, Spitalere said the festival tries to ensure that no two trees have the same theme.
“I already have next year’s tree planned,” Spitalere laughed, adding that the theme is “top secret.” This year, his tree “An Old Fashioned Christmas” features Christmas ornaments and toys from long ago.
With Christmas music playing throughout the event, and special appearances by Santa Claus and arts and crafts for the kids, it’s hard not to get into the holiday spirit, Spitalere said.
“It’s a winter wonderland in here,” said Spitalere.
IF YOU GO:
“Christmas at the Buttonwoods: A Festival of Trees”
Nov. 23 to Dec. 9
Ages 5 and under are free.
Noteworthy festival events:
Friday, Nov. 23, 6-9 p.m. Opening Night Gala, $10 Admission. Features local restaurants with buffet-style fare. Harpist David Bishop performs.
Saturday, Nov. 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m. The Candlelight Buttonwoods Museum Tour
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 6-8 p.m. Ornament Workshop
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 4-8 p.m. Children’s Scavenger Hunt
Thursday, Dec. 6, 6-8 p.m. Holiday Gift Wrapping
Saturday, Dec. 8, 6-8 p.m. Haverhill High School Chorus
Festival times and events vary by day. A detailed schedule can be found at haverhillhistory.org.