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Festival of Trees celebrates the season while supporting a tremendous cause

The 25th annual Festival of Trees opens Nov. 21st

It’s time for the annual Festival of Trees – one of the region’s biggest fundraisers of the year and a sparkling means of kicking off the holiday season.

For the past 24 years, the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation (RDRHF) has hosted the event which runs Nov. 21st-25th in the Stockmens Pavilion and the Prairie Pavilion at Westerner Park.

“Over the last 24 years, Festival of Trees has raised over $15 million dollars which goes into the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre,” said Travis Kuschminder, marketing and communications manager.

“Thanks to the community – our sponsors and donors — we can directly improve healthcare at home with purchasing state of the art medical equipment and our goal for 2018 is to complete Phase 1 funding for the Pyxis MedStations for our Hospital,” he said.

The Pyxis automated medication dispensing systems will be for emergency, ICU/CCU, NICU, operating room, recovery room, Unit 22 (cardiology), and select outpatient areas.

At the hospital, more than 1,000 new medication orders are written and processed every day and 13,000 units of medication are dispensed on the care areas every 24 hours.

Currently, all processes are paper-based and manual, noted the Foundation’s web site.

“The Pyxis automated system has numerous electronic features for safety and efficiency to accurately dispense patient medications, reducing the likelihood of human error.”

Meanwhile, since its inception in 1994, the Festival of Trees has attracted over half a million visitors.

Kuschminder said that about 2,000 volunteers are also needed. “The Foundation will always accept volunteers as there is always a need for day-off volunteers to help on site at Westerner Park. We are still looking for approximately 250 volunteers to fulfill general duties from helping at Candy Cane Lane to serving food at specific events during Festival of Trees.”

Meanwhile, Festival highlights include the ‘Preview Dinner’ which runs Nov. 21st in the Prairie Pavilion, and which is by invitation only.

The Festival Business Lunch runs Nov. 22nd from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Prairie Pavilion, and will feature guest speaker Manjit Minhas, CEO of Minhas Breweries & Distillery and star of CBC’s Dragons’ Den.

A Taste of Red Deer runs Nov. 22nd from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Prairie Pavilion.

Folks can sample lots of beverages, appetizers, entrees and desserts prepared by some of Central Alberta’s finest restaurants. Admission to this event is included with general admission, and food and beverage tickets are required.

There are plenty of other fun things to check out during a visit to Festival of Trees, including the intricately-decorated Tree Room with its array of glittering Christmas trees and wreaths. Other stops in the Tree Room include Candy Cane Lane, a gift shop, the Sweet Shop and Santa’s Secret Shop.

Other highlights include the already sold-out Festival of Wines on Nov. 23rd, and the Festival Fashion Brunch on Nov. 24th from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Prairie Pavilion.

Mistletoe Magic – A Father & Daughter Evening runs Nov. 24th starting at 6 p.m.

Also packed with loads of family fun is ‘Breakfast with Santa’ which runs Nov. 25th, kicking off at 9 a.m.

For tickets to these special events, visit

For more on Festival events or about being involved with the various aspects of the event, visit or call the RDRHF at 403-343-4773.