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  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Sheila McLaughlin walks around voting for the best decorated trees at the Festival of Trees, Friday evening. For the next 10 days, the trees will be set up for viewing at 94-96 Main Street and proceeds of the sale of each tree go to a fund set up for a future Old World Christmas Village.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    A window display draws passers by to look in and notice the 40 trees set up for display for the Festival of Trees at 94-96 Main Street as a couple walks down the sidewalk, Friday evening.
Sunday, November 28, 2010

City brings Festival of Trees to light

NASHUA - You’ll find a lot of lovely decorations at what the organizer hopes is the city’s first annual Festival of Trees.

You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a tree anything like the one Carolyn Choate donated.

“I love this tree,” said Choate, program manager for WYCN-TV 13.

For ornaments, her tree was bedecked in press passes, CDs and Miley Cyrus toy microphones spray-painted day-glo colors. For garland, coaxial cable wrapped coils around the faux evergreen.

“My most treasured one is this one,” Choate said, pointing out a press pass dated Jan. 22, 1997. It was for the Lowell, Mass., funeral of former Sen. Paul Tsongas.

Choate got the idea for how to decorate the tree before she had a reason to do so.

During a visit to a festival of trees event in Pelham, Choate noticed how clever and witty many of the trees were, with decorations related to the businesses.

For example, a construction company’s tree was adorned with hard hats, she said.

At the Nashua event, which held its opening Friday with a gala reception, many of the trees besides Choate’s related to the businesses that sponsored them.

St. Joseph Hospital, for example, had a tree decorated with old photos of nurses throughout the history of the hospital. Ikebana Flower had small flowers encased in vases for its unique ornaments.

Though not related to its mission of building homes, Habitat for Humanity found an interesting use for a Beanie Baby collection, as its tree was decorated with scores of the fuzzy, stuffed toys.

The festival is a fund-raiser for and prelude to what organizer Linda Bretz hopes to pull off next year – an Old World Christmas Village on the grounds of Main Street.

In Bretz’s vision, small themed huts would display and sell holiday items.

Bretz, former longtime Conservation Commission chair for the city, got the idea during a recent trip to Germany, she said.

She envisions the village to remain up for an entire month next year.

“This is a full-time job now. I’m trying to figure out how I’ll have the time,” she said.

“I think it looks fabulous,” Bretz said of the vacant Main Street storefront filled with decorated trees.

“A lot of heart and soul went into these. It’s good for the businesses.”

The timing couldn’t have been better for real estate developer Richard Lannan. This week, Lannan closed on the deal to buy the building that included the former Cameraland location, which is hosting the Festival of Trees.

“It was perfect timing for the Festival of Trees and to showcase this space,” Lannan said.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or