Yoakum museum Christmas Tree Forest begins 25th year

Sonny Long

Nov. 16, 2012 at 5:16 a.m.

Ordrey Parker's vision of a museum filled with Christmas trees lives 25 years later.

In 1988, Parker brought the idea of a Christmas Tree Forest to the Yoakum Heritage Museum where she volunteered. Then-museum director Dennis Rowan agreed.

"I think she saw something similar in Corpus Christi and brought the idea back here," said Jenny Heller, longtime museum volunteer. "She's actually the one that started it."

A tree dedicated to Parker, who died in 2002 at 88, is among the more than 60 trees on display at the 25th annual exhibit.

This year's theme is "Silver Bell and Sleighs."

Yoakum businesses, groups and organizations, schools and individuals all take part in placing a decorated tree in the museum, 312 Simpson St.

"It's a good thing for the community, for the children. And basically, that's why it was started - for the children," said Heller, also a former museum board member.

Children continue to be the focus today as hundreds of students from elementary school classes and day care centers tour the Christmas Tree Forest each year.

Museum executive director Brenda Coleman is experiencing her first Christmas Tree Forest and has been impressed by the work put in by the museum's volunteers.

"There is a core group that is up here working 30, 40 hours a week," said Coleman. "Every time I leave and come back, there are more decorations hanging.

"The volunteers really pull this off every year. It's amazing."

A special preview of the Christmas Tree Forest will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Santa Claus will visit from 2 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 16. The display runs through Jan. 6.

There is no admission charge, but donations are appreciated.

In addition to the annual Christmas Tree Forest the museum, established in 1982, features standing exhibits in the Leather Room, the Military Room, the Train Room, the Yoakum Room and the Tom Tom Room.



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