Carroll County Times

Bids roll in for decorated Christmas trees at Taneytown History Museum fundraiser

TANEYTOWN - The decorated trees neatly lined the New Windsor State Bank's hallways leading up to the tellers' room, where more two- and four-foot-tall trees sat.

There were ones with pine cones and holly. Another was decorated with a Mardi Gras mask and a purple feather boa.


Lists placed next to each tree held bidders' names and the amount they were willing to pay for the adorned tree - some with gift cards attached - at the annual Holiday of Trees event sponsored by the Taneytown History Museum Committee.

Local businesses and residents decorate trees, wreaths or centerpieces and bring them to New Windsor State Bank for bidding, which lasted from Dec. 2 through Saturday. Residents could sign their name and name their price during the bank's operating hours, as well as putting coins and dollars in a jar to vote for the best-decorated item. A penny counted as one vote.


Inside New Windsor State Bank in Taneytown, Jean Brown sat in a chair facing one tree, the one she wanted. Teddy bears and red-bulb ornaments hung from its branches, and her name was on the list as the highest bidder just about a half hour before the almost two-week auction closed.

All proceeds from the event go toward the Taneytown History Museum and typically between $3,000 and $4,000 is raised, according to Jennifer Helm, history museum committee secretary and the event's chairwoman.

Brown, a history museum committee member, remembers the first Holiday of Trees about six years ago, where she shelled out slightly more than $400 for three trees.

"I was anxious for the thing to be a success," she said, "and I was really wanting those three trees."

This time, she had to wait until after 11:30 a.m. to find out if she would be able to bring home the one she had her eye on. She had to wait for others to trickle in and out - such as bank employee Lisa Monthly, who brought her parents, Bob and Betty Myers, visiting from Wyoming to view the trees.

"Get them in the Christmas spirit so they'll take me shopping," she joked.

At a little before 11:30 a.m., Helm announced, "Last call for bids."

Once the clock passed 11:30 a.m., she and George Naylor, the history museum committee's chairman, collected the lists of bidders' names.


Naylor clapped to get the room's attention.

"Hear ye, hear ye," he said. "It's time to get our festivities underway."

But first, he wanted to thank the New Windsor State Bank for allowing the Taneytown History Museum Committee to use its venue for the event to help ensure the annual event was able to happen this year.

The history museum was previously housed on 24 E. Baltimore St. In September, local disability rights activist Marilynn Phillips alleged the building was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Museum officials decided to shutter the building and are currently searching for a new home but haven't found one yet that suits the museum's needs, Naylor said.

Then Helm announced the winners of the best-decorated contest.

Her daughter, Sarah Helm, 10, smiled wide when her tree with purple cupcake ornaments won second place in the two-foot tree category. Her younger daughter, Callie Helm, 7, squealed when her two-foot tree with pink cupcake ornaments received first place.


Afterward, the names of those who bid the highest price on a tree were called, and the winners packed them in their cars that day to display in their homes that night.