Travis Kuschminder, the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s marketing and communications manager, looks at a Grinch-inspired Christmas tree at Westerner Park. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

26th annual Festival of Trees begins Friday

It takes plenty of work to assemble the Festival of Trees.

“The setup begins a week prior to the festival,” said Travis Kuschminder, the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s marketing and communications manager.

“It’s a spectacle to see it all come together, with hundreds of volunteers taking this empty space and turning it into this Christmas wonderland that you see when you come to the festival. It’s quite remarkable.”

The 26th edition of the event takes place at Westerner Park from Friday to Sunday. Setup for the festival began this past Saturday.

“We start moving in that day, and things kind of start taking shape in those first couple days. But it’s the Tuesday and Wednesday of this week where things start to become more final,” said Kuschminder.

“We’re really close to being ready for opening. There are just a few minor details and touches left.”

Money raised at this year’s Festival of Trees will go toward the purchase of medical scopes. More than 35 scopes are used every day in the outpatient and endoscopy departments of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Current scopes are no longer repairable, and with fewer functioning scopes, increased wait times are a reality for patients, according to the Festival of Trees website.

“Each year, over 9,400 procedures involving scopes are conducted in the hospital. Replacing those scopes and making sure we have the best health-care resources available in Red Deer and central Alberta is important,” Kuschminder said.

More than $16 million has been raised for various projects through the festival’s first 25 years.

The tree room will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Festival of Wines is Friday from 8 to 11 p.m., Mistletoe Magic is Saturday from 6 to 11 p.m. and Breakfast with Santa goes Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit

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