Christmas comes to the Harvey House Museum with Festival of Trees

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During the Festival of Trees celebration, spirits remained high throughout the day Saturday as many Valencia County residents found it difficult to resist the holiday cheer.

More than 200 people helped ring in the season at the Harvey House Museum, where 30 Christmas trees, each decorated in a different theme, illuminated the museum's many rooms, hallways and nooks and crannies along with a comic book room, line dancers and a room full of vendors selling food, arts and crafts.

From aluminum, mid-century Christmas trees to trees festooned with rolls of film and covered with famous faces such as Marilyn Monroe, visitors got to experience something different around every corner.

With so many trees and each one unique, it might have been difficult for some adults to decide on their favorite one, but not for 4-year-old Julia Barela from Belen whose favorite tree was the chile pepper tree, "because," she said, "it has all the chiles and my daddy likes them."

It was an easy decision for 6-year-old Holly LaFayette, as well, who was visiting the festival with her mother, Royceann LaFayette of Los Lunas.

"My favorite tree would be the Popsicle one, because it's very different and I think Popsicles are yummy," Holly said of a small white tree decorated in Popsicle lights.

For Angelina Larga, 6, who was helping her great-grandma Dorris Duran, from Belen, sell jams, jellies and fudge, the best tree was "the little blue one upstairs" because it was decorated with her favorite animal ― horses.

But children were not the only ones dazzled by the pretty lights and decorations. There were plenty of adults admiring the trees, as well, and enjoying the entertainment and vendors.

"I know Ronnie (Torres) works really hard to do all the trees," said Anita Romero, secretary for the Belen interim city manager, who was visiting the event with her 6-year-old granddaughter, Lilian Vega. "It's a wonderful thing for Belen."

"We support everything in the community," said Alicia Mora, who came out from Rio Communities with her friend, Elena Dutchover, to take in the trees and entertainment.

Around noon, line dance group, The Valley Dancers, led by Belen resident Patty Herrington, performed several numbers in the downstairs vendor room.

"It's nice to have entertainment; it draws people in," said Sharon Towner of Belen. "We need that."

Batman and Robin were also on site in the comic room to help promote Albuquerque store Lobo Anime and Comics. Batman said he hadn't gotten to see all of the trees, but was very partial to the stuffed animal tree by his booth.

Also represented in the comic room was the Belen store Comics Weekly, whose booth was being manned by Charles Torres, who said he had the booth at last year's festival and thought it made a good addition to the event for the kids.


-- Email the author at udavila@news-bulletin.com.