Ken Blackburn

Festival of Trees brings community together at the museum

More than 20 Christmas trees, decorated by local businesses, non-profit organizations and Campbell River families, are on display

It’s looking a lot like Christmas at the Museum at Campbell River.

More than 20 Christmas trees, decorated by local businesses, non-profit organizations and Campbell River families, are on display at the Island Highway location as of Nov. 28 for the second annual Festival of Trees.

The grand opening of the event was held that Friday night to correspond with the annual Big Truck Parade. The public was invited to mix and mingle at the museum, bring a chair and watch the lighted trucks go by on the highway while sharing in their own community’s history and stories, and the community didn’t disappoint.

“We had an excellent turnout,” said Sandra Parrish, Executive Director of the museum. “It was wonderful to see people of all ages come and take in the festivities.”

“This is really another way that the Museum can serve as a community meeting space and engaging the community not only with its shared history, but also with itself, in a way,” said Ken Blackburn, Public Programs Coordinator of the museum and Executive Director of the Campbell River Arts Council. “It shows how the museum can serve as the foundation for the community’s cultural circles and encourages the appreciation of the living history of Campbell River that we’re all a part of every day.”

Parrish agrees with Blackburn’s assessment.

“It’s part of the evolving, changing role that we play within the community,” she said. “Events like this reflect the changing community and engaging with it on another level.”

Parrish said that museums have struggled in the past to define themselves as something other than just a place that holds historical relics or places of academic study, but the Museum at Campbell River has historically viewed itself as much more of a pillar within the community, rather than just an archival holding place.

“We have a long history of community engagement,” she said, “and we’re continuing to build these ongoing relationships constantly. This is another way to do that.”

The Festival of Trees is in place for the entire month of December (closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day) for the public to come out and enjoy. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Stop by and say hello, check out the festive decorations and enjoy some local history, because, as Blackburn said, “it’’s supposed to be a place to share stories. After all, they’re everyone’s stories. They belong to all of us. We’re all a part of history. We make it every day.”