Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


November 17, 2013

Festival of Trees and Trains

Annual event scheduled to open Friday

ASHLAND — Greenery, gold ribbon and assorted colors of ornaments lie about the banquet room at the Paramount Arts Center as designers pore over each item, deciding how it can be used to its full potential during the Paramount’s Festival of Trees and Trains, which will open Friday.

Rhonda Ballengee, Jim Shope and Connie Coburn are working together on a tree that will be raffled; the theme is “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” They also will make a snowman tree they’re calling “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.” Both trees are in keeping with the festival theme “Holly Jolly Christmas and Other Favorite Christmas Songs.”

“We’ve got festival fever,” Ballengee offers as an explanation for why she and her partners are willing to put in so much work.

Shope said he also loves the holiday.

“It’s just the joy of Christmas,” he said. “And becaue the proceeds go to benefit the education fund at the Paramount which benefits school children.”

Longstanding tradition

For 15 years, Michael Quade of Michael Quade Designs has participated by designing a tree for the festival. This year, his tree will be very traditional, he said, making use of pine cones and colorful ornaments.

“I like to make money for the Paramount,” he said. “It’s a beautiful icon of the community.”

Chairwoman Christy Reaves said the festival required re-examination.

“We had to look at sustainability,” Reaves said. “It requires so much energy and we had to look at how we could scale it back and continue it.”

Changes to FOTT

Reaves said the festival no longer has the wreath competition and asks just for tree donations.

The gift shop has expanded, she said, and will carry an assortment of donations such as wreaths.

Ashley Layman-Bohanon, gift shop chairwoman, said the gift shop will sell wreaths, in addition to toys and candy for children, locally made jewelry, painted goods and other handmade items such as soaps, scarves and ladies apparel.

“We’ll have some unique Christmas decorations and table decorations and vintage items,” she said. “All the proceeds go to the Paramount.”

Sponsorships have changed, too. Reaves said.

DESCO Credit Union will sponsor a Business After Hours at the festival, which will take the place of the preview party.

McDonald’s will sponsor all the children’s events, including Cocoa with Santa and the Children’s Train and Fun Time. Ronald McDonald will attend the events and each child will receive a free craft, as well as a visit with Santa, face painting and cookies and hot chocolate, provided by Tim Horton’s.

New sponsor Jo-Ann Fabric will provide a gfit to the first 300 who attend Nov. 24, which will be Jo-Ann’s Fabric and Craft Stores Day. They also will sponsor a drawing for a free sewing machine — the winner will be announced at 7 p.m. — and have displays throughout the festival, Reaves said.

FOTT has its own website, too. For more information, visit PACfott.org.

To go along with the theme, mascots Holly and Jolly — elves — will make appearances at the event.

“We want to bring it to live and let people feel the childlike energy,” Reaves said.

Schedule of events


Opening day; hours 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

5 to 9 p.m. — Choirs and Crooners.

5 p.m. — Megan Dotson.

6 p.m. — The Singers — Ironton High School.

7 p.m. — Saints Alive.

8 p.m. — Unity in the Community.


Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Cocoa with Santa.

4 p.m. — Heritage Hoedowners.

5 p.m. — Boyd County High School Chorus.

6 p.m. — Wurtland Church of God.

7 p.m. — Devon and Ritch Collins.

8 p.m. — Bronson Bush and Tom Stephens.

9 p.m. — Roger Smith.


Jo-Ann’s Fabric and Craft Stores Day

Noon to 9 p.m. — Open.

1 p.m. — Ashland Youth Ballet.

2 p.m. — CK Alumni Band.

3 p.m. — Blazer Concert Choir.

4 p.m. — First Baptist Church of Ashland.

5 p.m. — Portsmouth West.

6 p.m. — Advance Methodist Hand Bell Choir.

7 p.m. — Steve Free.

8 p.m. — Glo Smith.

8:30 p.m. — Phillip Osborne.


Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

5 p.m. — Kelly’s Bridge.

6 p.m. — First Baptist Church of Cannonsburg.

7 p.m. — Bridget Reynolds.

8 p.m. — Katie Owens and Levi Ausmus.

9 p.m. — Michael Garvin and Kentucky Memories.


Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

3 to 9 p.m. — Family Night; Admission is $10 per family.

6 p.m. — Ashland Christmas Parade.


Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

3 to 9 p.m. — Family Day; admission is $10 for a family.

Noon to 6 p.m. — Children’s Train and Fun Time.

Thanksgiving Day

4 to 9 p.m. — Open

Nov. 29

Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

5 p.m. — John Thornsberry.

6 p.m. — Star Valley Band.

7 p.m. — Huntington Harmonica Club.

8 p.m. — Wizards of Dance.

9 p.m. — Tim Preston and Marcus Cantrell.

Nov. 30

Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Cocoa with Santa.

5 p.m. — Tammy Jo’s Studio presents River Cities Dance Company.

6 p.m. — Isaac Stephens.

7 p.m. — Christ Temple Brotherhood of Ashland.

8 p.m. — Mary Elizabeth Kress.

8:30 p.m. — Riley Spencer and Wiley Dew.

9 p.m. — Sister Redden Hair.

Dec. 1

Noon to 9 p.m. — Open.

1 p.m. — Ashland Regional Dance Theater.

2 p.m. — Verity Middle School choir.

3 p.m. — River Magic Chorus.

4 p.m. — Rock Hill High School.

5 p.m. — David and Mycah Pemberton.

6 p.m. — Raffle drawings, awards announced.

6 p.m. — Heather May and Alice Cornwell.

7 p.m. — Bobby Blanton.

8 p.m. — International Folklanders.

Dec. 2

1 to 7 p.m. — Purchased item pickup backstage.

Dec. 3

9 a.m. to 7 p.m. — Purchased item pickup backstage.

Noon to 6 p.m. — Tree delivery.

The Festival of Trees and Trains will begin Friday and continue through Dec. 1 at the Paramount Arts Center. Admission is $5 per person. This is the 29th year of

the event.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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