BENNINGTON -- Most people envision the annual Festival of Trees at the Bennington Museum and see those traditional evergreen conifers covered with lights and decorations, but for the Bennington County United Counseling Service Big Brothers, Big Sisters Program Coordinator Kara Reimann, along with the "bigs" and "littles" she works with, something much more enchanting was envisioned.

"We wanted to do something different and exciting, so we came up with the idea of a floating tree," said Reimann. "The littles finger-painted each of the ornaments we used. At first they thought the paint felt ‘kind of funny' but then they started to have fun and they love how the tree came out."

The floating tree is a mobile with six levels of ornaments connected with wires; the ornaments themselves are painted in the traditional white and purple colors of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Each "little" finger-painted the ornaments and the designs on each.

"We encourage everyone to come enjoy the Festival of Trees. From the whimsical to the serious, this year's tree makers have truly let their creativity be inspired by objects in the museum's collection," said Edie Sawitsky, Bennington Museum Trustee and FOT Community Tree Coordinator. "I'm pleased that several tree creators, including BB/BS, really took inspiration to heart to create such fun and interpretive "trees."

The BB/BS "tree" was inspired by the thumbprint pattern glass, from the "Thumbprint pattern compote" (1850-1870), following the "Hidden Gem" theme of this year's Festival of Trees.

"The littles would be really excited to know that people are enjoying their work, I would encourage everyone to check out the floating tree at the Bennington Museum," said Reimann.

The Bennington Museum "Hidden Gems" Festival of Trees runs until Dec. 30.