By: Seth Johnson

An outdoor snapshot from the Holiday Tree Sale and Family Event shows several people taking part in various activities. On the left, for example, individuals enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, while on the right, people weight in line to purchase their holiday trees and wreaths.On Saturday, Dec. 3, the Holiday Tree Sale and Family Event returned to the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, welcoming community members young and old to kick off their holiday season with a fun-filled day at ISBVI.

In keeping with tradition, hundreds of pines, firs, and spruce trees were available for purchase from ISBVI’s two-acre tree farm, along with a selection of pre-cut firs, plants, and wreaths. As families browsed the wide array of holiday greenery on hand, they were also invited to enjoy a made-to-order breakfast in Churchman Cafeteria from 8 to 11 a.m. benefiting IBCF. Throughout the day, Santa Claus made his rounds as well, while ISBVI carolers and classical guitarist John Alvarado provided the proper holiday soundtrack.

An ISBVI tradition that dates back to 2001, the Holiday Tree Sale and Family Event was initially started by former ISBVI teacher Dave Schnieders, who still plays a big part in the event to this day.

Dave Schnieders poses for a photo in the ISBVI tree farm. Dave is wearing a red winter coat, blue jeans and a winter hat, with a big smile on his face.“We planted 100 white pines along the fence back there by the Monon Trail,” says Schnieders of the tree farm’s origins. “Those were fifth graders who did that. We said, ‘By the time you’re seniors, those trees will be big enough that you can sell them.’”

Considering the sale’s humble beginnings, Schnieders has enjoyed seeing the Holiday Tree Sale and Family Event transform into something that brings out the whole community.

“It brings the neighborhood onto the ISBVI campus, and they get to see how cool it all is,” Schnieders says. “It’s definitely a big community event, and I’m excited and pleased that it’s become that.”

As the Holiday Tree Sale and Family Event has blossomed into what it is today, Schnieders says he still has students who keep coming back to it decades later.

“Now they show up with their wives and families, which is really cool,” he says. “They laugh and say, ‘Wow. When we put these trees in, I never thought it would turn into this!’”



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