PDT Staff Writer
Area garden clubs gathered at the Shawnee Lodge on Monday to begin decorating the facility for Christmas.
Last year there was a bit of controversy when the lodge was asked to take down a manger scene because someone found it to be offensive. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland issued an order to have the display put back up shortly after it was taken down.
"The manger has been a part of this display for 12 of the 17 years we have been decorating. Last year there was a controversy about the last couple of years. Governor Strickland came in and said it would be put on display because it's always been a part of our display. The manger scene is here to stay and will be going back up there (Monday)," said Linda Warfield, a member of the Portsmouth Garden Club who helped to organize where items were placed in the lodge.
There will be three dozen Christmas trees on display throughout the lodge. Trees range from 18 feet, 12 feet, 14 feet down to nine or 10 feet.
"We have eight garden clubs here working on trees. Each club has their own area they work in," said Warfield.
Each club has trees in particular areas and are in charge of with particular themes.
This the 17th year the garden clubs have decorated the lodge.
"We used to decorate outside. One of the general managers asked us to come inside and decorate one year, we have been doing so since," Warfield said.
There were 75 people at the lodge to work on the displays.
Once completed the displays will stay up for two months.
"We come back the Monday after New Year's, and take it all down, pack it all up and get things ready for next year," Warfield said.
"Every year we have a new club who hosts the event and over sees purchases. The lodge allows us to have some money to purchase new decorations. The area where that club is sponsored usually gets some of the new things added to it," Warfield said.
She went on to say everyone has assigned jobs with the decorating. There are months and months of preparation that go into the decorating. "We worked all day once to create a new tree the Portsmouth Garden Club is putting up," said Warfield.
Warfield said the groups will be at the lodge for about two days decorating. "It takes two days to really fine tune things. When we come back the second day and an area does not look right we will do what we can to improve it," Warfield said.
The lodge will be hosting an open house to showcase the work of the garden clubs on Dec. 14.
T.W. ALLEN can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 208.