Christmas at Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center |

Christmas at Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center

by Caryn Haller

The High Sierra Flycasters are focused on clinching the win this year during the Gallery of Trees competition at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center. Their 9-foot fly rod tree, topped with a fly fishing angel has come in second to the Douglas County Republican Women the past two years.

The Christmas tree decorating contest is part of the Douglas County Historical Society’s annual Holiday Gala 10 a.m. Saturday.

“There are some great trees, not just ours. A lot of work goes into them by a lot of people,” flycasters president Dan Sedergren said. “Community-supported events like this is one of the things that really makes it special to live here.”

The Gallery of Trees contest draws close to 20 competitors each year. Groups bring in their artificial tree during the week of Nov. 28, and begin transforming it into a work of art. To vote, visitors place any amount of money in the can sitting in front of their favorite tree. At the end of December the money is counted, and the tree with the most cash wins.

“Ours is always full of quarters,” Sedergren joked. “Theirs (Republican Women) is full of dollar bills and checks. The competition gets a little acrimonious.”

Another popular event at the Holiday Gala is the cookie walk. Various-sized containers can be purchased for $5-$20, and visitors can browse the tables of cookies filling their containers.

“We usually sell out of cookies by noon,” said Cindy Rogers, museum office manager.

The Carson Valley Arts Council and the Douglas County Parks & Recreation Department sponsors the gingerbread house decorating contest.

Houses need to be turned in to the museum by 3:30 p.m. Friday.

“It’s actually like Christmas day when they all show up,” said organizer Dennis Little. “We’ve had some absolutely incredible structures come in over the years that could compete in any national magazine competition.”

First, second and third place ribbons are awarded in four categories including best family project, children ages 12 and under, best individual adult and club, organization or service group. Gala visitors can also vote for the Peoples Choice winner.

“To me it’s part of keeping American culture alive. It’s an excellent project to do with the family,” Little said. “We see it as a community-building exercise.”

An artisans reception will be Dec. 17 to announce the winners.

During the Holiday Gala, pictures with Santa are available 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. out front of the museum. For $5, professional photographers Craig and Sandy Marshall will photograph and develop the Christmas keepsake while visitors wait. The museum will also offer holiday discounts at the book store and gift shop.

Applications to participate in the Gallery of Trees and gingerbread house decorating contest are available at the museum, 1477 Highway 395, Gardnerville or on line at http://www.historic 

For more information call the museum at 782-2555.