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Christmas trees take center stage


Friday, November 19, 1999

ASHLAND, Ky. – Greg Frazer stood on the steps and looked down at the 50 trees decorating the Paramount Thursday.

"Every year it’s amazing what everyone comes up with," Frazer said. "From the children’s trees to the professional ones, there is something for everyone."

An employee of the Kroger Co., Frazer himself contributed to the festive atmosphere with the help of Tammy Voglesong, Janet Bagby and Dow Chemical.

The three decorators dressed a tree up with champagne and ribbons that announced the dawning of a new millennium, Frazer said.

"I’m really pleased, a lot of people liked it," Frazer said. "And I like helping to decorate the trees. This festival puts people in the Christmas mood."

Opening Saturday to the public, the Festival of Trees will be on display at the Paramount until Nov. 28.

Doors will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for senior citizens and $1 for children under 12.

Owner of Integrity Jeep Motors, Steve Songer, knew better than to try to design a tree by himself.

Instead, he asked Shelly Morris of Coach Lite Gallery to design one in his company’s name for the festival.

"They asked me to sponsor a tree," Songer said. "And I love the Christmas season – all the decorations. It was natural to say yes."

And walking through the display during the VIP Party Thursday night, Songer was amazed at not only the quality of the tree he sponsored, but with all the sights and sounds of Christmas filling the air in the Paramount.

"I think it’s fantastic," he said. "It makes you feel good when you come in."

Even though some of the festival trees are professionally designed, that doesn’t lessen the beauty of the amateur ones, Mrs. Morris said.

"There’s no right or wrong way to decorate a Christmas tree," Mrs. Morris said. "Everyone has their own tradition. There’s not one that’s right or wrong."

And with so many different styles of Christmas trees on display – one even honors Hanukkah – everyone should find at least one tree they will love, said Denise Paulus, co-chairman of the Trees Committee.

"Helping with the festival gives me a jump start and puts me into the Christmas spirit," Mrs. Paulus said. "And it does that for a lot of people."

A Coal Grove resident, Mrs. Paulus tries to get more and more Ohioans involved in the Festival of Trees each year.

"Ironton, Ohio, is just five minutes across the bridge and we need to take more advantage of what we have here," Mrs. Paulus said. "I want the kids to be involved in the festival, and come over, bring Mom and Dad and say ‘look, this is what we’ve done.’ We’re grasping for more people to take advantage of the Paramount."

Kingsbury Elementary School staff took a step in the right direction.

The faculty members designed a tree, with the help of first-, second-, and third-grade students, said Bob Rowe, first-grade teacher.

"The staff actually did the tree," Rowe said. "But the kids sang Happy Birthday to Jesus."

The taped song filled the air surrounding the petite tree, which was decorated with gold ribbons and angels.

"Doing this, the children learn giving and the meaning of Christmas – at least as much as we can go into it," Rowe said.

Proceeds from the festival and auction go toward the Paramount and underwriting its childrens’ educational programs, Mrs. Paulus said.