Fort Harrod getting lots of help with its Holiday Gala

November 09, 2003|EMILY TOADVINE

Even cardboard and wood scraps look good when paired with a Christmas tree and given the right amount of dressing up. At least that was the philosophy adopted by students from Harrodsburg Day Treatment and their teacher when preparing for the holiday gala at Old Fort Harrod.

"We believe in making something out of nothing. That's our motto," says Linda McGlone, who works with the students at Harrodsburg Day Treatment.

The Bluegrass Tolers also shared that view as they decorated their tree with floats from the back of commodes, magnolia leaves painted to look like Santas, and okra made into Santas or angels.

"We paint anything that stands still long enough to be painted," says Donna Humston of Lawrenceburg, who was decorating with Martha Buckner of Harrodsburg. They are among 90 members of the group who meet once a month at the senior citizens building at Anderson-Dean Park.


McGlone learned to be crafty while living in eastern Kentucky.

"I lived in Bell County for seven years and people up there didn't have anything, so they're really ingenious."

McGlone brought a couple of students, Tiarra Bradshaw and Terry Nevil, to help her.

"They're two of my most creative students," she says, noting that Tiarra likes to write and Terry likes to do woodworking.

Students have been working since August on the Christmas village that went beneath the school's tree. They used scraps of wood that McGlone salvaged from her husband's cabinet shop. With paint, they transformed them into churches, schools and shops. McGlone also cut out patterns from holiday fabric that was glued onto painted cardboard and coated with a crafter's glue.

"Day treatment is on a limited budget, so I think we have tried some things we wouldn't have if we had the money to buy it," McGlone says.

Making crafts is a good learning experience, McGlone says.

"They make something and at first they think they can't. Then, when they see the results, they are so pleased with themselves."

Staff from the Mercer County Public Library didn't invest a lot in their tree either, but it stood out as a colorful addition with copies of the covers of Dr. Seuss books. They decided on this theme in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the author.

About 80 titles were on the tree that was adorned at the top with a red and white striped hat like the Cat in the Hat wears.

Kathleen Day says "Yertle the Turtle" as her favorite, and as the children's librarian she can vouch for the popularity of the books.

Her co-worker, Natalie Cole, says "Oh, The Places You'll Go" is her favorite.

"I got one when I graduated from high school and college. It's just a good metaphor for the next place you're going," she says.

The Girl Scouts in Mercer County kept the decorations on their tree simple and homemade, too, but the 11 troops took their idea of Christmas one step further. They filled sacks with lotions, socks, tissue and powders that will be given to residents at Harrodsburg Health Care Manor. Patricia Whitenack, who has worked with the Girl Scouts for six years, says they always decorate as part of a service project.

To add to the mix of decorated trees, the park also offers Evergreen, the talking tree. "One thing I think the people just love is our talking Christmas tree. That's a big draw to our holiday gala," says Joan Huffman, park manager.

Huffman says the event started about 20 years ago and the community has continued to support it by coming to view the work others have done to decorate the 10 to 15 trees on display.

"There are approximately 100 volunteers as well as staff that help with this event, and I can't thank them enough. This event involves a lot of our community pulling together to make it successful. Also, the Kentucky Tourism Council voted this event as one of the top 10 winter events."

One decorator, Nancy Camden of Burgin, takes care of three of the trees. She gets the fire and police departments involved. She also does a family tree and usually decorates one for the Burgin girls basketball team.

"There are a lot of natural-looking trees. The trees are absolutely beautiful. A lot of organizations, florists, businesses and clubs come every year and decorate these trees," Huffman says.

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