|By Maryellen Fillo, The Hartford Courant|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Now living in
"It just hits my heartstrings and stirs up good memories and makes good memories," said the 31-year-old, mother of two. "It's part of our holiday tradition. And you can't give up tradition."
And so it is, not only for the thousands of people who will trek to the city's
Each year garden clubs, retailers, banks, decorators, designers, businesses, community groups and individuals craft trees, garlands, wreaths and table arrangements now reflecting not only Christmas but other December holidays as well, including Kwanza and
Coordinated by its Women's Committee, the festival began in 1974 and has grown each year adding a variety of family-oriented events and entertainment during its 10-day run. Since it began, the festival has attracted more than 500,000 visitors and raised about
"We are so glad to be able to do it," said
"It is always exciting for us to create for the festival," said Amadeo. "We just found out three weeks ago about doing three trees instead of one so it was a miracle to pull it off but we did it."
Contributions over the years have reflected traditions, culture, lifestyle trends and timely causes. There have been Whalers trees, when the professional hockey team was in
For the past several years, Travelers, also one of the original festival donors, has decorated its tree to underscore the ultimate sacrifice of the state's military. Called "Connecticut Fallen Heroes," the tree is decorated in red, white and blue featuring ornaments with pictures of those active duty