A Forest of Christmas Trees Glows High Above The Ozarks

(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) – In one of the highest points in all of the Arkansas Ozarks sits a mountaintop spa resort that was built back in 1886.  The hotel is surrounded by 15 acres of forestland crisscrossed with walking trails and manicured gardens adjacent to the four-story, limestone structure.  It is here in these manicured gardens that every December for the past six years that well-decorated, illuminated Christmas trees seem to spring up.

The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa’s “Christmas Forest” is one of the most popular events each year of the hotel’s holiday.  The hotel’s Director of Marketing and Communications Bill Ott explains, “Our Christmas Forest was the idea of our General Manager Jack Moyer six years ago.  It is a concept that started with a dozen trees and in 2011 saw the forest grow to 30.”

The concept is a simple one.  Each tree is decorated by and for a local area charity.  Following a grand forest illumination ceremony, the forest opens to the public.  Then from that evening through New Year’s Eve, visitors to the forest can “vote” for their favorite tree.  Each vote costs one dollar.  At the end of the voting period, the “ballots” are added up.  Each charity’s tree gets to keep all the monetary “votes” each received.  The top three vote-getting charities get to not only keep their “ballots” but The Crescent awards $200, $100, and $50, respectively.

Those charities represented in the 2011 forest are Matter of Trust, Aveda’s Earth, Toys For Tots, Eureka Springs Historical Museum, OARS, Good Shepherd Humane Society, St. John’s Hospice, People Helping People, Heifer International, ECHO, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Ozarks Chorale, Eureka Springs Downtown Network, Eureka Springs Boy Scouts, Eureka Springs Public Schools, Clear Spring School, Eureka Springs Rotary Club, Loaves & Fishes, Preservation Society, Flint Street Food Bank, Farmers’ Market, Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce, Eureka Springs Hospital, Merlin Foundation, W.T. Fockers, Salvation Army, CASE, Operation Smiles, Cello Choir, and Berryville Elementary Nursing Services.

“We only use real trees.  The hotel purchases the trees, put lights on each and then each individual charity decorates their own tree,” noted Moyer.  “It has become quite a decorating competition between the charities.  Not only do they work hard to make their trees the most beautiful, most unique, but each charity works hard to ‘get the vote out’.”

“Our Christmas Forest has become a community and regional draw during the holidays,” Ott added.  “And with the leaves off the abundant hardwood trees, our illuminated evergreen forest can be seen for miles.”

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a resort community located just 53 miles southwest of Branson, MO and 156 miles east of Tulsa, OK.  The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa is a member of Historic Hotels of America and will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2011.


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