IN AWE - From left

Successful year for Festival of Trees

Officials are deeming this year’s Festival of Trees a success.

The 19th annual event wrapped up on Sunday at Westerner Park and Alaine Martin, project officer for Alberta Health Services, said the entire event seemed to go off well.

“The changes we made seemed to be very well received. The new configuration of Candy Cane lane was much better,” she said.

Another big change officials made to this year’s event was holding The Festival Lights the Night (formerly referred to as The Biggest Tree Festival) on a Saturday instead of on a week night like it was done in the past.

“Moving that event to the Saturday night was the best decision we made. More people were able to attend the event with it not happening on a workday. And with us offering the prize money for the Santa Claus Parade this year, we saw an increase in entries as well.”

Although the amount raised has yet to be announced, Martin said she expects the number to be similar to last year. Last year, $1,020,000 was raised at the event and more than 23,700 guests walked through the doors.

“Our attendance was on par with what it was last year, so I would expect we raised a similar amount to last year.”

For nearly two decades, the Festival of Trees has provided festive activities to the community in support of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. Since its beginnings, the Festival of Trees has raised more than $8.2 million to enhance health care at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Proceeds raised from the 2012 Festival of Trees will go towards upgrading equipment and technology for Laboratory Services, Department of Histopathology.

This new technology and equipment will help increase the capacity to maintain acceptable timelines for laboratory testing for the growing needs at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com