The 52nd annual Christmas Tree Lane is currently shaping up but there are still lots of trees which need to be decorated. Decorating is open to any group, family, organization, individual, classroom, daycare, business or church – anyone in Iroquois County – can reserve a tree and decorate it for this year’s event. Trees are already up so the decorators will need to supply lights and ornaments. This year’s theme is “Angels We Have Heard on High” but you don’t have to follow the theme.
To reserve a tree, call the Old Courthouse Museum, 103 W. Cherry, Watseka, at 815-432-2215 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. As the museum will be closed Nov. 28-29, all trees will need to be decorated by 4 p.m. Nov. 27. There is no fee to decorate a tree.
Individuals, families, groups, organizations, classrooms, churches and others are also invited to take part in the Gingerbread House Gallery. The houses do not have to be made of gingerbread – they can be made of any medium as long as the entry is easy to carry and manage, and it doesn’t take up more than a 2-foot by 2-foot space (this allows entries to be put in the display case). This is an open contest so you can decorate a house however you like – it doesn’t have to follow the Christmas Tree Lane theme. These entries also need to be in place by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27.
A Christmas Tree Lane open house will take place 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. Visitors to the museum can vote on their favorite trees by dropping change into the corresponding boxes. A panel of judges will choose their favorite trees in the following categories: Best Use of Theme, Most Original, Best Decorated and Best Handcrafted Decorations. Gingerbread House Gallery entries are judged in two categories: Most Original and Best Decorated Display. Proceeds from the voting are used by the Iroquois County Historical Society to help with maintenance, repairs, upkeep and utility bills.
Christmas Tree Lane will have a special opening from 2-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, which is one of the days the Iroquois County Christmas Cantata will be performed at First Christian Church, 546 N. Sixth, Watseka. Voting will be completed by this time so no votes can be cast.
Of special interest to Christmas enthusiasts, the museum is also including a vintage Christmas card display while Christmas Tree Lane is ongoing. This will include Christmas cards from 1910-1930.
All tree decorations and Gingerbread House Gallery entries will need removed by 4 p.m. Jan. 15.