COOKSBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Hundreds of people enjoyed the annual Festival of Trees at the Cook Forest Sawmill Center for the Arts on Friday and Saturday.
Friday’s freezing rain may have limited the number of visitors, but Saturday’s sunny weather made it the perfect day to be in the forest.
In addition to 15 decorated trees, which were available for purchase, an ice sculptor created a Santa Claus.
During the day, there were performances by country singer Coston Cross, the St. Mary’s Choir, and an open rehearsal by the Mahoning Valley Ballet.
Sally Payne, of Marienville, was among those enjoying Cross’s performance. It was her first visit to the festival, and she primarily came to see the trees.
However, she also found a treat.
“They had a lot of nice things,” Sally told CookForest.com.
“I got cinnamon cashews for my husband, his favorite. That makes it a good day.”
Some of the festival’s visitors came from as far away as Butler and Pittsburgh according to Misty Stanley, the Sawmill Center’s Administrative Assistant.
“People are coming in and spending the weekend,” she noted. “They’re taking it all in and spending some time.”
Stanley says their goal was to provide one-of-a-kind gift opportunities and an opportunity to shop local and support local vendors.
Rising country music singer Coston made the trip from Texas to perform at the festival. While it’s not a big venue, it is the setting he prefers.
“I love the small venues probably more than larger venues,” he said. “It’s warmer and more fun for me when I play with my band, and I think the audience enjoys it better because it’s more personal.”
Mary Wagner made the trip to the festival from Clarion. She found a few things from the local crafters that caught her eye and enjoyed looking at the trees.
“A friend brought me here today,” she said as she listened to Cross’s performance.
“I just felt like being Christmasy and going out today!”