SALISBURY — More than 150 artificial Christmas trees were put up and decorated at the Blue Ocean Music Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday and now stand ready to light up visitors' faces at the ninth annual Sea Festival of Trees.
All festival proceeds will benefit the Salisbury Beach Partnership and its mission to return the historic Broadway Flying Horses carousel to the beach.
The event saw 26,000 visitors over 15 days last year and raised close to $150,000 for the Salisbury Beach Partnership.
Atlantic Hospitality Group Director Kathy Aiello said much of Blue Ocean's second floor will be decorated with wooden horses, camels, goats and giraffes that are intended to populate the carousel when it eventually arrives.
Local families and businesses have donated 155 decorated trees for the festival, which runs from Saturday to Dec. 8.
The annual Spirits of Christmas Gala and Grand Tree Lighting will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. The festival opens to the public Saturday at 10 a.m. when the fifth annual Coastal Christmas Arts and Crafts Show begins.
The new Hometown Heroes & Superheroes event will be Sunday. First responders, active military personnel and veterans receive a discounted admission.
"Captain America and Spider-Man will be here that day from noon until 3 p.m.," Aiello said. "We want to honor our hometown heroes and we will also have a fire truck and a police car outside. We want to give kids the opportunity to meet a fireman, meet a policeman, and see the inside of a police car and a fire truck."
One of the more notable trees being decorated this week is from the Adamo family of Newburyport, who created a facsimile of a door at Lowell's Boat Shop. The tree comes with $1,000 in gift cards to T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.
Jody Palermo, a manager at Amesbury’s new Game Time Lanes & Entertainment bowling alley, was putting the finishing touches on her company's bowling-themed tree Wednesday morning. The tree features mini bowling pins and bowling balls.
"This tree predominantly screams bowling, which is family fun," Palermo said. "We have $5 game cards for the arcade and 10 $25 gift certificates for bowling. We also have some T-shirts and some fun little games for the younger kids."
Game Time Lanes & Entertainment was formerly known as Leo's Super Bowl and this Christmas marks its first Sea Festival of Trees.
"This screams the beginning of Christmas and hopefully families, people and community," Palermo said. “No. 1, the advertisement is wonderful but secondly and most importantly, it is a fundraiser. So, I am hoping that, by putting this on Facebook and whatnot, it will get a lot of our customers to come in here, too."
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.