by Caitlin Huston
— A rotating Logansport Berry-themed tree and a tree with cross-stitched ornaments are some of the highlights at this year’s Cole Christmas Tree Forest.
Started by Jean Cole in 2008, the fundraiser raises money for the Salvation Army by having businesses or individuals donate $250 per tree, which volunteers or the people who donated then decorate. Members of the public are then invited to buy $2 tickets to enter their names into a drawing with a chance to win the tree for which they entered their name.
This year’s forest featured 29 trees as of Friday afternoon, with trees lit up in purple and blue and featuring themes like Purdue University or a pink Victorian tree.
The cross-stitched ornament tree is particularly special for Cole. She said she thought of it last year as she gazed at a similar tree with needlepoint ornaments in the Calvary Presbyterian Church. She said she wanted other churches to have a chance to have a similar tree, so she asked her friend Sharon Overway, who helped create the original tree, to work on another one for the fundraiser.
“I thought this would be fabulous if I could take Sharon on,” Cole said.
Overway said it took her a few months to create all of the ornaments, with the needlepoint for each ornament taking about four hours. The ornaments all feature Christian symbols and each symbol is explained on the back.
Another special tree is a Logansport Berry-themed tree which rotates and features Felix the Cat memorabilia collected through the years. Next to the tree is a plank from the bleachers of the old Berry Bowl.
While the trees were originally sponsored by businesses, Cole said more and more people are wanting to create their own tree.
“We’re starting to get individuals that want to do a tree,” Cole said.
The winners of the trees will be announced Dec. 10.
Looking to next year, Cole said she would like to be able to raise enough money so that gifts will also be included under the trees.
Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.