Festival brings singing, dancing (of course, the 'Nutcracker'), and trees dressed up for the holidays

December 04, 1992|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,Staff Writer

Last night, Guy Arceneaux pulled an all-nighter to complete his contribution to this year's Festival of Trees -- fashioning ornaments with the decorative theme: Season's Readings.

For Mr. Arceneaux, 39-year-old senior art director at Lewis Advertising, rushing to meet the deadline for this year's festival, which begins Sunday, is an invigorating way to work. "I create on deadline all the time," he says.

Tonight, he and his wife, Carol Ann Dunn, and his 3-year-old daughter, Annette, will be at Festival Hall -- where the eight-day event takes place -- hanging his ornaments on a 7-foot silk tree alongside scores of other designers adorning their own trees. The ritual, full of camaraderie, is in its third year.

"It's something we enjoy very much," Mr. Arceneaux says.

The festival, which benefits the Kennedy Krieger Institute, a resource center for children with disabilities, promises an almost overwhelming display of Christmas spirit and fancy. Besides 100 trees and 75 wreaths decorated by local professional designers, there will be arts and entertainment, an international village, a children's area (where Santa will be in residence) and a shopping arcade.

A variety of singing groups and dance troupes are scheduled to appear throughout the week including the Elkridge Sweet Adeline Chorus, the Liberty Super Senior Singers, the Lyman Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and the Calico Cloggers.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, Towson State University students will dance "The Nutcracker," and there will be appearances by the Celebration Ringers, a handbell choir, and DeVe's Christian School of Ballet & Tap.

On Sunday, at 1 p.m., the Maryland State Boychoir will sing at the festival's opening ceremony. Other events include a Scout night sing-a-long at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and a Teddy Bear Tea for toddlers and their favorite bears at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

In the children's area, kids can make ornaments, decorate cookies and select gifts such as tool kits, bouncing balls and whistles for under $2 at the Secret Santa Shop. A working merry-go-round will provide a wondrous centerpiece.

The Festival of Trees, sponsored by Crown Central Petroleum Corp. and WJZ-TV Channel 13, will also feature a shopping arcade including Under the Tree, a gift shop offering hand-painted furniture, silver thimbles and hand-knit sweaters; Magic & Mistletoe, an international holiday shop; a Bake Shop; Sweet Shop; and a number of holiday carts.

A Gingerbread Village, created by local chefs, will also rise in the midst of the festival extravaganza.

Two ticketed events also take place. The KinderGala, a black-tie party in a nter wonderland setting, gives guests a sneak preview of the festival from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. tomorrow. The gala, now in its 11th year, has raised more than $3 million for the 25-year-old institute.

And at noon Thursday, a fashion show and celebrity luncheon will take place.

Mr. Arceneaux says he will be thinking of the children his work will benefit, as he decorates his tree with words and images from children's holiday books.

"It's very important to do something at this time of year and to do something for these kids who have so much going for them in the way of optimism. It just gives us a thrill," he says.

He will also be thinking of the competition: Top trees are selected by 12 judges in the "Most Creative," "Most Beautiful" and "Represents a Theme" categories. All trees and wreathes are raffled, auctioned or sold on behalf of the institute.

"I feel a lot of pressure," says Mr. Arceneaux, who took fourth place in the best theme category last year. His tree titled "The Twelve Days of a Baltimore Christmas" included a marble stoop ornament and a flock of "little orioles."

FESTIVAL OF TREES

Where: Festival Hall in Baltimore.

When: Noon-8 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 13.

Admission: $3.50 for adults, $1.50 for children and seniors. KinderGala tickets are $275 a person and are expected to sell out. Fashion show and lunch Thursday, $25.

% Call: (410) 550-9460.

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