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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Historical Society held a tree lighting Thursday night with a preview of this year’s “Festival of Trees”, marking the annual tradition’s return from going virtual in 2020.

There are 75 trees set up to represent things unique to the state of Indiana.

Officials went with the them “Back Home in Indiana” in representation of more people coming back to spend time with family this holiday season.

Last year’s event was held virtual due to COVID-19.

“This year in 2021 it is great to be able to be with other people. We’re still being safe and cautious, but to be able to be out and together I think really helps lift people’s spirits,” said Marc Johnson, the Indiana divisional commander for the Salvation Army.

This is the 8th year for the “Festival of Trees”, and the fifth year that the historical society is partnering with the Salvation Army for the event.

The celebration will help promote the Salvation Army’s “Angel Tree Program” as well.

Those who visit the “Festival of Trees”, can also adopt an angel, to make sure Indiana children in need have presents to open this Christmas.

Organizers hope the event helps get people to think about helping others during this holiday season.

“It’s a chance to reflect on the year, to think about the next year, and to think a lot about our history and how it impacts us today and helps us make better decisions for the future,” said Indiana Historical Society President & CEO Jody Blankenship. “And that history is represented in the trees and in this institution.”

The “Festival of Trees” officially begins Friday, and goes through January 8th. It also marks the beginning of a series of events that will be held by the Indiana Historical Society throughout the holidays. 

More information on the “Festival of Trees” can be found on its website.