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29th annual Festival of Trees begins in Red Deer

Event supports Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre
Matt Eigner and his seven-year-old daughter Kaylee attended the 29th annual Festival of Trees at Westerner Park on Friday. The event continues on Saturday and Sunday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Festival of Trees is officially underway in Red Deer.

The 29th annual edition of the event, which is hosted by the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation in support of the Red Deer hospital, began Friday and continues through the weekend at Westerner Park.

“It’s nice to see everyone coming back and feeing the Christmas spirit,” said Manon Therriault, chief executive officer of the foundation.

“It takes a massive crew of volunteers and our staff members to get this together. There are quite a few days of setup and I’m so grateful for everyone who helped do this. There are a lot of people who have been volunteering years.”

Proceeds from this year’s festival will be used to support the purchase of equipment for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care and coronary care units.

“Those units are expanding and with that expansion, it will require some equipment. The foundation will be there to help support the outfitting of those spaces,” said Therriault.

“Every single person in the central zone is going to need that hospital in some capacity, whether it’s for themselves or a family member. We need to make sure it’s functional for everyone.”

Throughout the festival, people can see the tree room, which features 40 decorated trees.

“The trees come to us in so many ways. Some people sponsor a tree by donation and then some of our volunteers decorate them. We also have businesses and others that set up the tree the way they chose to decorate it,” Therriault explained.

Additionally, there is a gift and sweet shop, an entertainment stage, and a silent auction, with more than 120 total items available.

Candy Cane Lane is also returning this year. This children’s area, located in the Parkland Pavilion, features games. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Mistletoe Magic – an evening of dinner and entertainment for fathers and daughters – is returning at this year’s festival on Saturday. On Sunday, there will be a Festival Pancake Breakfast from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Festival of Wines was held on Friday.

“It’s nice to be in here with all of the beautifully decorated trees, the silent auction items donated by our sponsors and to be standing here listening to some lovely entertainment, which is something we haven’t been able to do for the past couple of years,” said Therriault.

“We’re finally able to bring back most of the things that people are used to seeing. We can come back and enjoy the things we’ve traditionally experienced.”

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The 29th annual Festival of Trees began at Westerner Park on Friday. The event continues on Saturday and Sunday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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