Kicking off the holiday season in Red Deer

Festival of Trees gets underway next week

There might not be a more colourful and delightful sign of the arrival of the Christmas season locally than ‘Festival Week’ here in the City.

This includes the hugely popular 24th annual Festival of Trees event which runs at Westerner Park Nov. 22nd-26th.

From day one, the Festival of Trees has been an extremely important fundraising event for medical equipment and technology. Last year, $950,000 was raised to enhance client care and services in the Medical Specialty Clinics at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

For 23 years the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has received nearly $14 million from the Festival of Trees, and their mission is to continue this great event through the ever-changing economy.

This year, the Festival announced it will be directing fundraising efforts to support the purchase of new technology and equipment in two laboratory departments – hematology and microbiology, which are responsible for procuring and analyzing lab samples to assist physicians in the diagnosis of disease.

Meanwhile, events included in this year’s Festival of Trees are The Festival Business Lunch on Nov. 23rd, the Taste of Red Deer on Nov. 23rd, the Festival of Wines on Nov. 24th, Festival Fashion Brunch and Mistletoe Magic, both on Nov. 25th, and Breakfast with Santa on Nov. 26th.

Of course the focal point of the entire festival is the tree room. Wandering around the wonderful examples of Christmas creativity is an inspiration in itself and there is something magical about the room’s feel. There are also auction items both silent and in raffle form that attendees can participate in. Families can also send the kids into Santa’s Secret Shoppe so they can choose gifts for their loved ones with a special helper. Candy Cane Lane is also a popular stop for the littles. It’s a place they can take part in festive activities including face painting and crafts. To see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they too taken in the magic of the season is priceless.

Ultimately, Festival of Trees provides not just a brilliant means of kicking off the season, but it’s also an ideal way of supporting a cause that could potentially help so many Central Albertans. We know it has continued to be tough for many Central Albertans with the downturn in the economy in recent years, but organizers are still hoping that citizens will open their hearts and give what they can – every little bit helps.

For more information on this year’s events and being involved with the Festival of Trees, check out www.reddeerfestivaloftrees.ca, email foundation@albertahealthservices.ca or call 403-406-5517/403-343-4773.

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