The 29th annual Festival of Trees successfully brought holiday spirit to the City of Red Deer last week.
The annual event, hosted by the Red Deer Hospital Regional Health Foundation, was held at Westerner Park from Nov. 25-27.
“It was really well attended. Our ticketed events had really good attendance and the tree room was always packed. It was really nice to see the community and our supporters come out and support the event,” said Manon Therriault, chief executive officer of the foundation.
Proceeds from this year’s festival are being used to support the purchase of equipment for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care and coronary care units. The final dollar amount is still being tallied, Therriault noted.
The previous two years were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – the event was held virtually in 2020 and certain elements of the festival did not happen in 2021.
“The last couple years were challenging for us. We wanted to plan an event as big and attractive as we possibly could. It was constantly challenging and demotivating to not be able to do what we wanted to do for our community and for the hospital,” Therriault said, adding it was exciting the 2022 event was a return to normal.
“This year was a lot of work. It’s no secret that a lot of people are sick right now, so our hands were a little bit short in terms of bodies of help. But we still had a smile on our faces at the end of the day and know that we’re able to do what we’ve been wanting to do for the past few years.”
This year marked the return of two major parts of the festival: the Festival of Wines and father-daughter dance Mistletoe Magic.
“Festival of Wines was so full. Everyone really seemed to have a good time and mingle with people they haven’t seen in a while. The food was really good too,” said Therriault.
“With Mistletoe Magic, you could really tell the dads were glad to be back to enjoy this event with their daughters.”
The tree room featured 40 decorated trees. In total, there were more than 120 items available in a silent auction during the Festival of Trees.
“It’s nice to see how different the trees look every single year. There’s so much creativity and thought that’s put into the items that are donated and sponsored,” she said.