Weeks of planning will unfold next week when businesses and organizations turn their ideas into reality for the 10th annual Festival of Trees hosted by the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce on the Crawford County Courthouse lawn.

Festival of Trees will open Dec. 6. Held in conjunction with the courthouse lighting ceremony and The Old Town Merchants Association’s Living Windows, the Christmas tradition draws hundreds each year to celebrate the start of the season in downtown Van Buren.

This year’s Festival of Trees is sponsored by Crawford County Judge John Hall and his staff, United Federal Credit Union, Hampton Inn - Van Buren, Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission, Morton Family Dentistry, State Farm Insurance - Dustin Booth Agency and Summit Medical Center.

Tree sponsors are Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Arvest Bank, BancorpSouth, Centennial Bank, Citizens Bank & Trust Co., Crawford County judge and staff, Experian, Hampton Inn -Van Buren, Kiwanis Club of Van Buren, Morton Family Dentistry, Penmac Staffing Services, Press Argus-Courier, Republican Party of Crawford County, Rhodes Chevrolet, Rotary Club of Van Buren, Seasons for the Home and Garden, Strategic Realty Developers, Time Striping Inc., The Old Town Merchants Association and United Federal Credit Union.

Tree sponsors are assigned a tree to decorate on the lawn, which remains on display throughout the Christmas season, according to festival co-chairs Traci Wilhelm and Megan Gifford.

The uniquely decorated trees will be judged for their overall appearance and decor. Winners will be announced at the lighting ceremony, which will begin at 6 p.m. on the courthouse lawn.

The Courthouse Lighting Ceremony will include music, cookies, hot chocolate, hot dogs and fellowship, according to Elaine Stanfield, administrative assistant to the county judge.

Santa will be at the Albert Pike School House after the lighting program to take wish requests from the children, Stanfield said.

Living Windows turns downtown into a live history lesson when merchants unveil active window displays depicting Van Buren’s colorful past, including quilting, butter churning, candy making, popcorn stringing, leather working, crocheting and china painting from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m.

King Opera House on Main Street in downtown Van Buren will show the docu-drama, "Step Into the King Opera House," at 5:15, 6:45 and 7:15 p.m. Dec. 6.

Downtown will be closed to vehicular traffic for Living Windows.