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McKeesport?s 26th Festival of Trees gets under way Thursday

| Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011

With emergency roof repairs checked off the city's holiday wish list, the Main Pavilion at Renziehausen Park is open in time for McKeesport's 26th annual Festival of Trees.

The city recently contracted Lone Pine Construction for $8,900 to repair a leaking roof and prevent structural damage to the water-logged pavilion.

That fix came just in time for organizers to spend Tuesday and today decorating for the Festival of Trees, set for Thursday through Monday from noon to 9 p.m.

"We're looking forward to seeing all the people who will visit the Festival of Trees this year," event chairwoman Pat Harris said.

"I'm so excited," she said. "We will have more than 50 trees on display this year. With today's economy being in poor shape, this is a place where you can bring your family for a very minimal fee. It's affordable for adults, and children don't have to pay."

Admission is $2 for adults, and children are admitted at no charge with a canned good. Donations will be taken to the McKeesport-based Intersection soup kitchen.

"We have a few new entries this year from local personal care homes that are participating," Harris said. "We're happy to have them participating. I welcome the new people, and I'm very happy to have the past participants back again."

Just down the road from the festival's main attraction, the McKeesport Heritage Center will be open from noon to 8 p.m. with five additional themed trees on display: High Victorian, Winter Forest, Cheers to our Teachers, International Flair and Americana.

The Garden Clubhouse also will be open festival days from noon to 7 p.m.

Those traveling between buildings can enjoy the festival's traditional "Sleigh-hay Ride" through the candle-lit Renziehausen Park, courtesy of McKeesport Public Works Department.

Rides are offered Thursday and Friday from 5-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. and Monday from 5-8 p.m.

Guests are encouraged to bring their cameras as their children will have a daily opportunity to visit with Santa from noon to 4 p.m. and again from 5:30-9 p.m.

Semper Fidelis Club will sponsor a bake sale each day.

This year's entertainment schedule is as follows:

* On Thursday, Mikey Dee will be on hand from 7-8 p.m.

* On Friday, Allegheny Intermediate Unit Community Singers will perform from 12:30-1 p.m. St. Angela Merici Parish's musical department ensemble will perform from 7-8 p.m.

* On Saturday, Chalice of the Well Ministries will take the stage from 4:30-5:30 p.m., and the Blotzer Music Studio is on from 6:30-7 p.m.

* On Sunday, St. Angela Merici Parish will bring a quartet from 1-2 p.m. Bill Barnes will perform from 6-7 p.m.

* On Monday, McKeesport Area High School's mixed ensemble will play from 12:30-1 p.m.; the brass ensemble will take the stage from 1-1:30; and the orchestra will perform from 1:30-2.

The MAHS show choir will take the stage later for a 4-4:30 performance.

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