The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park will celebrate its 25th Annual Festival of Trees night viewings with COVID precautions in place.

The special night viewings will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., Dec. 11-12, 18-19 and 26. Advance tickets and reservations for entry times are required.

The Festival of Trees began as a way to celebrate the holiday traditions of the Victorian era, as well as a way to honor the role Southwest Virginia native C. Bascom Slemp played in establishing the American tradition of a “National Christmas Tree.” Slemp served as the personal secretary to President Calvin Coolidge. In 1923, a group from the Electrical League and the Washington, D.C. public schools approached him with an idea for a Christmas tree to be erected on the White House lawn. Slemp took the idea to First Lady Grace Coolidge, who took up the cause. She recommended the tree be placed on the ellipse south of the White House, and a tradition was born.

Volunteers from the Southwest Virginia region continue these traditions by decorating holiday trees, mantels, doorways and banisters throughout the Southwest Virginia Museum, sharing their creative talents and holiday spirit with all who visit the site. This year, over 60 groups contributed their time and talent to create the beautiful displays.

There are several COVID-19 precautions guests must adhere to at this year’s event. Participants are required to social distance between those not in the same household. Face coverings are required inside the museum.

To assist with traffic flow throughout the building, directional arrows will be placed on each level. Additionally, tree guides and voting for trees will not occur at this year’s event.

Advance tickets, on sale now, must be purchased for all night viewing dates. Twenty tickets per hourly time slot will be sold with sessions at 5, 6 and 7 p.m. each night to allow for social distancing inside the building and to follow new state guidelines.

Advanced tickets and daily admission fees for this year’s event are $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-12. Those under 6 are admitted free with a paying adult. Group rates are available for parties of 10 or more. The museum gift and artisan shops will be open during viewings.

Call the park at (276) 523-1322 to purchase advanced night viewing tickets or for more information about the event. Advanced tickets may also be purchased Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more details, visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.

The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park will celebrate its 25th Annual Festival of Trees night viewings with COVID precautions in place.

The special night viewings will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., Dec. 11-12, 18-19 and 26.

The Festival of Trees began as a way to celebrate the holiday traditions of the Victorian era, as well as a way to honor the role Southwest Virginia native C. Bascom Slemp played in establishing the American tradition of a “National Christmas Tree.”

Slemp served as the personal secretary to President Calvin Coolidge. In 1923, a group from the Electrical League and the Washington, D.C. public schools approached him with an idea for a Christmas tree to be erected on the White House lawn. Slemp took the idea to First Lady Grace Coolidge, who took up the cause. She recommended the tree be placed on the ellipse south of the White House, and a tradition was born.

Volunteers from the Southwest Virginia region continue these traditions by decorating holiday trees, mantels, doorways and banisters throughout the Southwest Virginia Museum, sharing their creative talents and holiday spirit with all who visit the site. This year, over 60 groups contributed their time and talent to create the beautiful displays.

There are several COVID-19 precautions guests must adhere to at this year’s event. Participants are required to social distance between those not in the same household. Face coverings are required inside the museum. To assist with traffic flow throughout the building, directional arrows will be placed on each level. Additionally, tree guides and voting for trees will not occur at this year’s event.

Advance tickets, on sale now, must be purchased for all night viewing dates. Twenty tickets per hourly time slot will be sold with sessions at 5, 6 and 7 p.m. each night to allow for social distancing inside the building and to follow new state level guidance.

Advanced tickets and daily admission fees for this year’s event are $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-12. Those under 6 are admitted free with a paying adult. Group rates are available for parties of 10 or more. The museum gift and artisan shops will be open during viewings.

Call the park at (276) 523-1322 to purchase advanced “night viewing” tickets or for more information about the event. Advanced tickets may be purchased Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more details, visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.