Christmas Tree Lane glitters and sparkles at the Minnesota Fishing Museum; opens Nov. 23

Dozens of trees, wreaths, displays and decorations to delight visitors

By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer

Decorated trees catch a visitor’s eye from every corner of the Minnesota Fishing Museum during the annual “Christmas Tree Lane” fundraising event. Diane Grebinowski, left, and Museum Director Mavis Buker never lose the excitement of decorating another tree.

The third annual “Christmas Tree Lane” at the Minnesota Fishing Museum is glittering and flashing and ready for visitors to be filled with Christmas spirit.

Beginning Friday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Dec. 2, from noon – 6 p.m., people can do their tree shopping or simply enjoy the festive atmosphere.

“People can come in and just enjoy the holidays,” said Director Mavis Buker.

More than 35 trees from tiny to humongous greet visitors at every turn. At least 30 decorated wreaths, gift baskets and other displays are situated throughout the museum, with decorations in between.

Ten local non-profit groups also decorate trees that have been put up in the museum. Visitors bid in silent auctions on the tree or wreath of their choice as a fundraiser for the participating groups.

Every tree’s theme is different. So far, there are no trees with fish hooks or bobbers, but one is covered with Ghirardelli chocolates.

“There is a nice assortment that appeals to a wide range of tastes,” said Buker.

The highest bidders win on Dec. 2. They take home the tree, stand, skirt and all the decorations. The proceeds are divided between the museum and the groups that made the donations.

“It’s such a great community event,” Buker said. “It’s good for non-profits to have more awareness and recognition.”

School groups, nursing home residents and families come for tours. “Last year we had more than 1,000 visitors,” said Buker. “People are always so surprised and amazed — they just light up.”

A number of special events are planned during Christmas Tree Lane. Mrs. Santa will be visiting Sunday, Nov. 25.

Free samples of SherriLynn products from Pierz will be offered Tuesday, Nov. 27.

HealthSource in Little Falls will be doing chair mini-massages Wednesday, Nov. 28. A book signing by Ren Holland is planned Thursday, Nov. 29.

Santa will make his appearance Saturday afternoon, Dec. 1.

“Some of the museum displays have been put in storage to make room for the trees,” Buker said. “But many people who may not care at all about fishing but love Christmas come to see what we have.”

Decorating items are found at garage and estate sales during the year, some of the things still in the packaging. Community members donate many things for the museum to use.

“A lady called this morning and asked if we needed another tree,” Buker said. “We will accept trees and any Christmas decorations all year long, new or used and in good condition. Our staff assemble and inspect the trees.”

“We do different things every year, so the people who come back can see new things,” she said.

“People are always surprised when they come in — the museum is much larger than it looks from the outside,” said assistant director Diane Grebinoski.

The Minnesota Fishing Museum is located at 304 Broadway St. W., Little Falls.

For more information, call (320) 616-2011.