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Getting Christmas on Track

Local man's display has brought joy to young and old for generations

Don Erlenbush shows children how to runs the trains on his circus display at the Saratoga Festival of Trees.

Don Erlenbush shows children how to runs the trains on his circus display at the Saratoga Festival of Trees. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— Cheryl Cross of South Glens Falls said her neighbors were in the circus when she was a little girl and the models brought back memories from when she was a kid.

“I wish was little again so I could go play with it, too,” she said.

Debbie Weddell, who just moved to Saratoga with her family from Glasgow, Scotland, called the detail “amazing.” She looked on while her 4-year-old son Jay operated the trains.

All of the proceeds from the Festival of Trees go to help fund Catholic Charities for Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties. The money goes towards the organization’s human service agencies, counseling programs and shelters.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Sister Charla Commins said Erlenbush’s display helped to draw in the crowds as the event’s newest attraction.

In its 16th year, the Festival of Trees usually helps raise nearly $100,000 through corporate sponsorships and groups who pay to decorate a Christmas tree. The artificial trees are then sold to the public to decorate their homes for years to come.

“I was happy to lend a hand,” said Erlenbush. “I enjoy just sitting and watching the kids have a good time, but of course the parents always do too.”

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