The Millheim Theatre’s stage shined a little brighter than usual Friday.
Lights on 12 Christmas trees sparkled as people toured the theater and bid in a silent auction to benefit local nonprofits.
It was a new spectacle for visitors to the theater’s open house, which was part of the 4th annual Merry Millheim festivities. For the past 20 years, the theater had been used for storage.
The sight was too good to be true for 3-year old Bellefonte resident Ben Brown, who asked his father, Mike Brown, to let him walk down the theater’s center aisle for a closer look. He quickly discovered his favorite ornament.
“Dad, a firetruck,” Ben said as he took it from the tree to play.
His sister Abby, 8, had trouble deciding which tree she liked most.
“I love them all,” she said.
Cyndy Engle and her husband, Mark, thought about using the theater for Merry Millheim for years, but didn’t get it cleaned out until this summer for their daughter Elly’s wedding.
“We decided to do something for the nonprofit groups while most others are out shopping for Christmas,” Cyndy Engle said. “Why not take an opportunity to remind people of these nonprofit groups? They were each given about three weeks’ notice, and they did all this. It’s incredible.”
Each Christmas tree was sponsored and decorated with a theme by local nonprofit organizations. More information about the sponsors can be found on The Millheim Theatre’s Facebook page.
The sponsor’s fee and 25 percent of each tree’s proceeds will benefit the Penns Valley Parks and Recreation Association, and 75 percent of each tree’s proceeds will benefit the sponsor. Bidding will continue from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday.
Jason Lorenz had trouble deciding which one he liked the most until his daughter, Aubrey Kelly, spotted a pet-themed tree.
“It looks like they’re all showroom trees,” Lorenz said. “It’s amazing what they’ve done. They look like they were professionally decorated, but I think the one with the blue lights is what we like, because we’re animal lovers.”
Mandy Biddle faced a difficult choice between bidding on either a Dr. Seuss or sports-themed tree.
She wanted to get a Christmas tree for the house she and her husband are building in Gregg Township.
“With (my) being a teacher and having two kids, the Dr. Seuss one is really catching my eye, and I just don’t think you can go wrong with that,” Biddle said. “I used to be an athletic trainer, so the sports one is really neat, too. Any of them would look beautiful lighting up our home.”