Traditions provide a bridge between past and present, and the link between old and new is illustrated in Christmas colors by the Festival of Trees at the Embassy Theatre.
For 35 years, the annual event has featured elaborately decorated trees and tours of the performance venue built in 1928 and once known as the Emboyd Theatre. That was again true Saturday, as thousands paraded through the theater and past dozens of trees lining the lobby and other open spaces.
For some visitors, the festival is as much a tradition as stringing colored lights and hanging ornaments on a tree in their own homes.
“It’s a great way to spend the holidays with family,” said Jacob McConnell, who was there with daughter Alice, 3, and son Truett, 6.
The trio was waiting on the second floor of the building for McConnell’s wife, Stephanie, and Truett had just visited Santa – another tradition.
This year’s festival theme is Holiday Memories, and many of the 60 trees evoked remembrances of yesteryear.
The “Remember When” tree was decorated with tinsel, old toys and black-and-white photographs. A tree labeled “Holiday Road” featured garland created from old Indiana license plates.
“I’ve been coming to this since I was a kid,” said Nick Claypool, who waited with his son Atlas, 5, near a table where children could write letters to St. Nicholas. “The trees change every year – something different.”
Dance troupes also performed on the theater’s stage.
The festival, a fundraiser for the nonprofit theater, opened Nov. 27 and continues through Wednesday.
Embassy Chief Marketing Officer Carly Myers said more than 20,000 people visit the event each year. The goal, she said, is to offer something for everyone to enjoy.
“I think a lot of people want to support the Embassy and what we do here,” Myers said.
Ian Alday and fiancee Megan Leman said they attend every year.
“I always like the money tree,” Alday said, referring to a tree where visitors are asked to guess how much cash is on it. “The Komets tree is kinda cool.”