Festival of Trees to kick off holiday season

  • Nov. 5, 2014 5:23 p.m.

The kick-off to the holiday season is only a few weeks away as officials with the 21st annual Festival of Trees gear up for the event which takes place at the end of the month.

The Festival of Trees will run from Nov. 28-30th at Westerner Park.

“We want people to come in and to get into the Christmas spirit, do some shopping or have a night out, but also understand that what they are doing is helping their local hospital and having that connection and keeping that at the forefront – it’s a win, win,” said Alaine Martin, project officer for the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation.

‘Festival Week’ gets underway on Nov. 22nd with Festival Lights the Night beginning at 4 p.m. in City Hall Park.

Officials encourage Red Deerians to plan for a fun-filled, free family event, with many children’s activities both outside in the park and in the Red Deer Public Library, free hot chocolate and snacks and many new and exciting plans, which include the ‘Festival Market’ and the ‘Christmas Tree Decorating Challenge’.

These are all in addition to the annual lighting of the Festival’s Biggest Christmas Tree, and light show.

New changes for this year’s event includes the move to Thursday night for Taste of Red Deer. Patrons can check out and sample offerings from 20 local restaurants, which may include appetizers, entrees or desserts. The Taste of Red Deer can be entered with a general admission ticket and vendor coupons can be purchased for favourite delights.

There are still limited tickets available for three special events including the Festival Business Lunch on Nov. 28th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Join the City’s business community on Nov. 28th for a presentation by Jim Hole, noted author and lead partner at the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert.

Tickets are also still available for the Festival’s new event on Nov. 28th – the Festival’s Winter Solstice which begins at 6 p.m. This is a semi-formal evening of dancing, entertainment, a meal and raffle prizes galore.

This event is reserved for guests over 18.

“It will be like an adult Christmas party. The theme of it for this year is the Christmas Masquerade Party,” said Martin. “Ticket sales for this event have been very strong.”

The other event which still has seating available is ‘Tis the Season Fashion Luncheon. Doors for the Nov. 29th lunchtime event open at 11:30 a.m. and it is a fashion filled girls’ afternoon out partnered with a meal, silent auction, raffles and door prizes.

Tickets for all of these events can be purchased online at www.tickemaster.ca, or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.

Events that have sold out include the Festival of Wines, Mistletoe Magic and Breakfast with Santa.

In addition, proceeds raised from the 2014 Festival of Trees will go towards two new surgical theatres that will be constructed adjacent to the Obstetrics Unit to address its surgical needs.

This expansion will further enhance patient safety and access to obstetrical procedures as well as have a positive impact on overall operations. Currently obstetrics surgical patients must be taken down to the operating unit on a lower level of the hospital. This current system faces several challenges which can include transporting patients in emergency situations both safely and with dignity.

The cost for the equipment needed is just over $1 million.

“We are hoping that the Festival will maintain the pace that we have established over the last couple of years and we can make enough money to cover that cost,” said Martin, adding last year’s Festival of Trees raised a record $1.28 million.

Meanwhile, volunteers are always needed. Anyone interested in volunteering can check out www.reddeerfestivaloftrees.ca, email volunteer@redeerfestivaloftrees.ca, or call the Volunteer Hotline at 403-348-9905 or the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation at 403-343-4773.

The Festival of Trees will be open for public hours on Nov. 28th and Nov. 29th from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Nov. 30th from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Westerner Park. General admission is $6 for adults, $3 for seniors (60 plus), youth $3, children aged four to 11 $2 and children under two get in free.