The year is always busy at the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum as we present speakers and programs, install exhibits, manage the collection, accept new donations, publish books on local history, train interns, guide senior projects, act as stewards for Kilchis Point Reserve and Nedonna Marsh, hold our annual Mook Book Fair, and host fundraising events for other organizations. But during the Christmas season, we get to host a fundraiser for ourselves: the Festival of Trees.

This year TCPM is holding the 16th annual Festival of Trees Gala and Silent Auction on Friday, Dec. 13, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Community members and organizations decorate full-sized Christmas trees in assorted themes for the auction, but there is so much more to offer. Beautiful holiday wreaths and centerpieces are created by local florists, nurseries and gardeners. Table-top trees are decorated for those without space for a full-sized tree. But the most fun are the items in the category of “Santa’s Pack.” Things that don’t fit the tree, wreath or centerpiece category go here and it can be anything from a holiday-themed tea set, a hand-crafted rocking horse, or gift baskets from a variety of shops and restaurants in the county. Lap quilts, specialty dolls, teddy bears, or snow men might be on the list, too. Over the years, we have had truly hundreds of donated unique items that we sell in our Silent Auction to raise money for museum projects. Those wanting to donate to the Santa Pack can bring their items by between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Dec. 4 or 5.

Past proceeds have gone to fund the birdwatching station at Kilchis Point Reserve, the new floors on the main and upper floors, collections care, and education programs at KPR. Last year, we put those funds toward revitalizing the Blacksmith Shop on the Lower Level and it will be ready and open for viewing in December. For the 16th Festival, funds will be put toward the 2020 exhibit about Women’s Suffrage as we celebrate 100 year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Some of the funds will also be used for the Museum gardens and other smaller projects.

Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be provided the Pacific Restaurant with wine from Tillamook Bowling and other generous donors. Tickets are already on sale at the Museum and are $35 in advance or $40 at the door. But don’t wait! We have sold out for the last six years and are on track to do so again this year. Dust off your festive holiday clothes and come have a lovely evening with friends while supporting a good cause: your local history museum.

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