Lighting up the Holidays

Published 9:57 pm Saturday, November 21, 2009

ASHLAND, Ky. — The color silver is prominent this season at the Paramount Arts Center and for good reason: The PAC’s annual Festival of Trees and Trains is celebrating its silver anniversary — 25 years of wowing the community with its display of Christmas trees and, in more recent years, a train display that takes up much of the balcony in the auditorium.

An estimated 15,000 will view the exhibit.

“There’s so much for people to come and see,” Festival of Trees and Trains Chairperson Rhonda Ballengee said. “We have school trees the kids will enjoy because many of them they helped make. We have miniature trees and intermediate trees and the trains.”

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Her favorite tree?

“The Grinch,” She replied. The tree titled “Who’s Christmas” features a tree that leans precariously to one side, owing to the little fabled Grinch Who Stole Christmas and his sled perched on top of it. Hanging over the edge, dangling from a rope, is the Grinch’s little dog.

The trees, and there are more than 90 of them, range in theme from traditional to unusual.

One display called “Wild Thing” features a black tree decorated with tigers, leopards, giraffes and other wild animals. Leopard print ribbons continue the theme.

King’s Way Church’s display pays tribute not only to Christ’s birth but the reason why he was born in the first place — his death. A cross with a crown of thorns and a Jewish prayer shawl stand beside the tree, along with a menorah. The tree is decorated with doves and ornaments with Biblical phrases.

For her tree, “Merry Pezmas,” designer Kathy Hood used Pez dispensers and tiny ribbons as decorations.

“Let Heaven and Nature Sing,” designed by Balengee, used poinsettias and angels as decorations.

Several trees toast the success of the festival. Designer Michael Quade’s “Happy 25th Anniversary” features silver ornaments and a huge star at the top of the tree.

The proceeds from the annual event funds youth education programs throughout the year.

For more information about the festival and special events associated with it, visit the PAC website at

Hours and Admission

Festival of Trees and Trains is open 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day when the festival hours are 4-10 p.m.

Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and children 3-12. Kids under 3 are admitted free.

Family Day is Tuesday, Nov. 24. (the day of the Ashland Christmas Parade). The cost is $10 per family with no limitations from 3-9 p.m.