Celebrate the Holidays at Indiana Historical Society’s Festival of Trees

Joey Amato | November 12, 2021

The Indiana Historical Society’s (IHS) 2021 Festival of Trees holiday exhibit features more trees, more festive family workshops and more chances to get into the holiday spirit.

From November 12 through January 8, visitors can take part in the annual holiday extravaganza at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in Indianapolis. This year’s winter wonderland features 75 elaborately decorated trees representing individuals, families and organizations from around Indiana.

This year will feature a new theme — Back Home Again — that will be seen on the 30-foot centerpiece tree with decorations inspired by a special holiday ornament created by renowned artist Walter Knabe exclusively for IHS. In addition, Twilight Tuesdays offer an after-hours experience for those who wish to see the trees by night. Also included with admission is a special holiday mixed drink for adults to enjoy, courtesy of Hotel Tango. The select Tuesdays are November 30 and December 7, 14, 21 and 28.

Whenever they visit, guests will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite tree. They will also have the opportunity to help a child in need with The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree.

“We are excited to welcome people back to the Indiana Historical Society for this amazing event,” said Jody Blankenship, IHS president and CEO. “We’re back with more trees, along with all the special programs and festive touches attendees look forward to each year. Plus, we are still offering our virtual experience for those visitors who want a digital way of taking in this holiday exhibit.”

On-site visitors can take part in scavenger hunts for The Elf on the Shelf or the Weihnachtzgurken (10 pickle ornaments hidden in trees throughout the building). And as guests wander through the building, they can enjoy a virtual story time with Santa or stop in the Cole Porter Room for holiday music.

Throughout Festival of Trees, the Stardust Terrace Café by Jonathan Byrd’s will offer extended hours and additional menu options, including holiday-inspired treats and tasty specialty beverages for both children and grown-ups.

Guests can also stop in the Basile History Market to pick up the perfect gifts for friends and loved ones — or themselves — from a commemorative Festival of Trees ornament to other Hoosier-made and Indiana-inspired items.

Festival of Trees hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Select Tuesday evenings will have extended hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In addition to the on-site event, check out FestivalofTreesIndy.org for the virtual experience, where you can see all 75 trees as they are displayed at the History Center. Other features of the virtual experience include interactive elements along with videos to enjoy the holiday music and Story Time with Santa.

Plus, enhance your Saturday visits with themed workshops, part of the Festive Family Workshop series. Each 45-minute session — with two sessions each day — includes a craft, learning experience and take-home activity. Cost after general admission is just $3 per person. The workshops are as follows:

  • Wonderful Wildlife with Traders Point Christian School: Learn about Indiana’s native wildlife while creating an ornament out of natural materials for wildlife to enjoy in the winter.
  • Hanukkah Handmade: Decorate a menorah, learn about some of the traditions that make Hanukkah special for Hoosier families and families around the world, and take home a delicious recipe to make traditional treats with your loved ones.
  • Indiana’s Statehood Day: Test your knowledge with a round of family trivia after learning to make cornhusk dolls. Learn all about what Indiana was like more than 200 years ago at our state’s founding.
  • The Nutcracker with The Dance Refinery: Meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, and learn about The Nutcracker before designing your own nutcracker. After the workshop, participants are invited to a unique performance by The Dance Refinery.

Festival of Trees is presented by The Salvation Army, with support from The Mothershead Foundation, Citizens Energy Group, OneAmerica, Printing Partners and MacAllister Machinery, Inc.

Twilight Tuesdays are presented by Hotel Tango; The Festival of Trees Virtual Experience is presented by The Salvation Army and OneAmerica; and Story Time with Santa is presented by Citizens Energy Group. For tickets, a detailed schedule of hours, information on in-building and virtual Festival of Trees offerings, and a schedule of programs, visit www.FestivalofTreesIndy.org. Festival of Trees will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.