Sixty Christmas trees decorated the first and second floor of the York County Heritage Trust Historical Society Museum, along with wreaths and other decorations this weekend.

Wooden animals marched around the boughs of one, while silver cookie cutters of gingerbread men danced on the limbs of another. Several trees featured homemade decorations of pine cones, candy or yarn and string.

The trees were part of the York County Council of Churches Festival of Trees, which raises money for the council, part of it going to the organization's Hunger Fund. In its 17th year, the event concludes at 5 p.m. tonight with a live auction and the Festival of Foods.

"I've been coming here for years and years. I always look forward to it," said Betty Bortner, 69, of Jacobus, who said she likes country decorations.

A tree titled "Christmas Candy Wonderland" is displayed during the 2012 Festival of Trees sponsored by the York County Council of Churches.
A tree titled "Christmas Candy Wonderland" is displayed during the 2012 Festival of Trees sponsored by the York County Council of Churches. (Paul Kuehnel)

In previous years, she's purchased the trees decorated by the Shiloh Garden Club. This year's garden club tree featured starched white gardening gloves holding small pots containing different natural materials.

"It just gets you in a festive mood and gives you ideas to decorate," Bortner said.

Themes ranged from religious or traditional to patriotic or peppermint.

"We have professional decorators. We have floral designers. We have people who just enjoy decorating the trees," said the Rev. Stephany Sechrist, co-chair of the event.

For example, three small trees were decorated by "Ruthie the Recycler," or Ruth Rudacille. The 87-year-old Barley Autumn House resident cuts, weaves and sews her ornaments out of plastic bags.

Some trees come from local interest or church groups, others from mother-daughter teams or couples, Sechrist said. The festival gives organizations a chance to publicize what they do and the services they provide.

For example, the tree from ARC of York County.

"Almost all or some of the ornaments that are on their tree are made or refurbished by adults or after-school children in their programs," Sechrist said.

Lambrini Nauss of Manchester Township brought some of her family into the city after church to see the display. Raised in York, Nauss said she always takes opportunities to support the city.

"I love Christmas," said Nauss, who admired a tree by Suzanne Baltozer, who crocheted angels in a rainbow of colors.

"The time that goes into it" is what makes a Christmas tree special, Nauss said. "The time that you spend on it and the time you take decorating it with your family."