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A tree-dition returns

Chip Ellis
The Clay Center opens "Trees of the World" Friday. It's a return of the popular exhibit from the former Sunrise Museum, with schoolchildren helping decorate the trees according to holiday traditions from around the globe.

WANT TO GO?

Holly Day

WHEN: Noon to 4 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Clay Center

COST: Adults $7.50, children $6. Films and planetarium shows extra.

INFO: Call 304-561-3570 or visit www.theclaycenter.org

NOTE: Also Friday, "Trees of the World" opens in the art gallery and runs through Dec. 31 and "Reason for the Season" opens at the planetarium and runs through Jan. 6.

_____ CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Clay Center opens its annual holiday celebration Friday with "Trees of the World," an exhibit that features trees decorated by local students, representing the different holiday observances from around the world.

Kayte Kincaid, lead educator at the Clay Center, said the exhibit is kind of the return of an old favorite exhibit with a new wrinkle.

"The exhibit actually goes back to the 1970s with the Sunrise Museum," she said. "It was originated by the Charleston Garden Club, and for years, they had artists decorate trees. Part of that exhibit was the 'Trees of Nations,' which was discontinued."

Kincaid said for years the Clay Center has received comments about that exhibit. Patrons missed it and asked when it was going to return. She also said that when elementary school groups came through to view the annual holiday exhibit, teachers frequently asked about how they might get their classes involved.

"So we kind of answered both questions," she said.

The Clay Center reached out to local schools they'd partnered with in the past or ones that regularly sent groups to exhibits in the past and asked them to help decorate the trees.

The response, Kincaid said, was remarkable, and the trees look wonderful.

"I love the Mexico tree." She laughed, then added, "and the England tree has a whole 'Doctor Who' theme. Everybody brought cool ideas. Everybody brought something different." 

The exhibit runs through Dec. 31 and visitors are invited to make a peace symbol to be added to the exhibit's centerpiece, the "Peace on Earth" tree.

Kincaid said visitors could make their ornaments at home and give them to Clay Center staff to add to the tree. She suggested ornaments could be made using materials like paper or pipe cleaners -- but not bacon.

"Food would be a bad idea," she said. "Don't do that."

"Trees of the World" helps usher in the Clay Center's annual Holly Day family fun day, which also takes place Friday. The event kicks off with the lighting of Earth City at noon. It includes a host of activities, arts and crafts, science demonstrations and a visit from Santa from noon to 2 p.m.

In the Holly Field Day, children can decorate snowmen at 12:30 p.m., participate in a candy cane toss at 1:30 p.m. and play Pass the Ornament at 2:30 p.m. Between games, they can create penguin and Santa hats or decorate ornaments ($2 per ornament). Science demonstrations are at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.

Also starting Friday is the annual "Reason for the Season" planetarium show, which looks at the origins of different holiday celebrations across the globe. It shows at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon and 2 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 6. Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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