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Festival of Trees starts holiday season at San Joaquin County Historical Museum
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LODI — The San Joaquin County Historical Museum will deck all the halls for this year’s 22nd annual Festival of Trees.

This family event launches the holiday season on Dec. 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum located in Micke Grove Park south of Lodi about one mile west of Highway 99 and south of Armstrong Road.

It’s a step back in time to walk onto the festive museum grounds with historic buildings, displays and docents dressed in vintage Victorian and pioneer clothes. The museum’s seven exhibit buildings will be brimming with more than 60 festive trees, each decorated according to a unique theme by different individuals and groups from throughout San Joaquin County.

The festival also features charming Christmas exhibits, entertainment and warm food for purchase. There will be many special happenings to see including demonstrations like woodturning, an extensive model train layout for viewing, and vendors will be on hand selling unique items including antique button jewelry, soaps, festive aprons and handcrafted items by museum docents. Docents also will be making and decorating swags to sell for $25 in the Hammer Restoration building.

For children, there will be many hands-on activities including decorating cookies, making cornhusk dolls, dipped candles and punched tin ornaments. There is a nominal fee of $1 to $3 for children to make the crafts. Children also will be able to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, and families can purchase photographs of their children with Santa.

Entertainers including musicians, singers and dancers will perform throughout the festival.

On Saturday, Ethel Neufield will play the antique pump organ in the Erickson Building at 10 a.m. At 11 a.m. on the stage in the Cortopassi Building, the Tiny Tots for Tap group will dance. They will be followed at 1 p.m. with the Unique Vision Dance group performing tap, jazz and ballet jazz dancing. At 2 p.m. the San Joaquin Brass Quintet will play. Beginning at noon barbershop quartets from the Stockton Portsmen will stroll the museum grounds and sing holiday songs.

On Sunday, the Tuba Express, a quartet of local tuba players, will perform holiday songs on the Cortopassi Building stage at 11 a.m. At noon, the Uke Got Me and The Tremolos ukulele band will play on the stage. Also at noon, the full Stockton Portsmen Chorus will sing holiday songs at various locations throughout the museum grounds. At 1 p.m., vocalist Leslie Sain and pianist Ginny Medford will perform on the Cortopassi Building stage. The Delta Harmony Xpress barbershop singing group will perform at 2 pm. And the final entertainment will be the Royal Scottish Country Dancers at 3 p.m. in the courtyard outside the Tree and Vine Building.

As a special treat for children, there will be storytelling and puppet shows in the Calaveras schoolhouse both days of the festival.

In addition to all the holiday festivities and decorated trees, visitors will enjoy the museum’s historical exhibits. The county museum features collections of tractors, agriculture equipment and tools. Stockton founder Charles Weber’s historic 1850 cottage is only open once a year during the Festival of Trees.

General admission tickets are $10 and $1 for children 2 to 12 years old. Children under 2 are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at the event or in advance at the Music Box in Stockton and Lodi or by calling the museum at (209) 331-2055 or 953-3460. By possessing tickets in advance, the $6 parking fee into Micke Grove Park is waived.

Festival of Trees is the museum Docent Council’s fund-raiser of the year. The funds raised at this event support the youth education programs including Valley Days, Pioneer School and Farm to Fork. About 4,200 San Joaquin County school students participate in these two living history museum programs each year where children experience pioneer life. Other education programs operated throughout the year include Farm to Fork for kindergarteners to second-graders, museum tours and classroom visits by docents who explain the historic contents of “Grandmother’s Trunk.’

For more information, call the museum at (209) 331-2055 or (209) 953-3460, or visit