Hands On! Regional Museum will once again transform into a festive wonderland for the 24th annual Festival of Trees. This series of festive events makes up the museum’s biggest fund-raiser each year, with all proceeds dedicated to the museum’s educational interactive exhibits and hands-on programs.
The event includes a “Showing of the Trees” exhibit, which will be displayed Nov. 2-13. The display will spotlight decorated trees, wreaths and centerpieces. Each year, volunteers from all over the region give their time and talents to produce beautiful, one-of-a-kind decorations.
A special addition to the “Showing of the Trees” this year is the partnership with local schools and youth groups. Part of the display will be 14 trees decorated by youth groups and classrooms that becomes the “Children’s Forest.” Proceeds from the sale of these trees will be returned to the group or classroom that decorated it.
“It has turned out to be a great way to get children involved with our fund-raiser,” said Kristine Carter, Hands On! Marketing Manager. “They are the ones who really benefit from this event, through our programs and exhibits.”
Admission to the showing of the trees exhibit is free during this time. All greenery items will be available for purchase during the Night of Lights Gala, held on Friday, Nov. 16. The gala and a benefit auction, hosted by master of ceremonies Josh Smith, WJHL News Channel 11, will be held Nov. 16. The evening’s events will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a silent auction and musical entertainment. The silent auction will include all greenery items, a variety of spa, dining, entertainment and sports packages and items that will make great gifts. The event will be catered by Cafe Lola.
A voice auction, hosted by Mike Bauguess, will provide the guests a last chance to take home something special. The evening will end with dancing to music provided by Unlimited.
“Our gala benefit is unlike others since it provides auction items that will jump start your holiday decorating and gift buying,” Carter said. “We hold the Night of Lights before Thanksgiving, since that’s when families traditionally do their decorating and begin their holiday shopping.”
All proceeds benefit the museum’s programs and exhibits that were enjoyed by 70,000 visitors last year.
Tickets to the Night of Lights Gala go on sale Nov. 1. Early reservations are recommended, as tickets are limited.
Hands On! Museum was founded in 1986 and opened its doors for the first time in 1987. Since then, the museum has more than doubled its exhibit space and welcomed over 1.5 million visitors.
Some basic Hands On! facts about the museum include:
• 70,000 visitors come to the facility each year from nearly all 50 states and several foreign countries.
• The museum provides 100,000 programs in the arts, sciences and humanities.
• Hands On! has been selected by readers of Marquee Magazine as the best museum in the region.
• The museum hosts groups from 40 school systems in four states.
The mission of Hands On! is to create a dynamic, educational, fun environment which stimulates discovery, thought and understanding through interactive exhibits, programs and events in the arts, sciences and humanities.
The museum is located at 315 E. Main St., Johnson City. For more information, call 434-HAND.