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Tree Huggers 

Theater clears out lobby for annual tannenbaum tribute.

At this time of year, a walk through the Cleveland Play House rotunda, done up for its annual Festival of Trees, feels like a stroll through a storybook forest. The theater has erected more than 60 decorated trees in its lobby for the past 11 holiday seasons. With 40 Cleveland-based companies as sponsors, each tree's design carries a theme. There's Dominion East Ohio Gas' contribution of a tree adorned with mittens, gloves, and hats to coincide with energy-saving tips for the winter. The Slovak Institute has decorated an inverted tree in honor of its motherland. "In their country a lot of the houses are so small that there's really no room for a Christmas tree, so they hang it upside down from the ceiling, like a chandelier," says spokeswoman Alison Bibb.Investment bank UBS has also teamed with White House florist Don Vanderbrook of Cleveland to design a motif of gingerbread cookies and strings of popcorn on the fest's 24-foot-tall signature tree. "It is a privilege to work with this remarkable designer — a true Cleveland icon — as he creates magic in our holiday forest and memories for thousands of Greater Clevelanders," says festival chairwoman Sheila McHale. The forest is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Monday, December 31, at the Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Avenue. Admission is free. Call 216-795-7000.
Dec. 2-31, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., 2007

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