Breakfast with Santa offers Melody Reeves-Blocksom and her son Cruz Blocksom, five, some quality family time. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

WATCH: Central Alberta families enjoy Breakfast with Santa – wrapping up Festival of Trees

The Village People’s Y.M.C.A. had families spelling out the letters on the dance floor at the 25th annual Festival of Trees event on Sunday, which wrapped up this year’s festivities.

Breakfast with Santa is popular among Red Deer and Central Alberta families. Melody Reeves-Blocksom said the event provides an opportunity to enjoy some quality time with her son.

Cruz Blocksom, 5, was a “baby” when the duo first attended the event, the mom said.

“We get some mom and son time,” she said.

The Red Deerian, who has three sons, said her other two boys are now too old for the event.

The breakfast supports an important cause – raising money for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

“It’s so important, you just never know when you might be in need of care.”

Red Deer’s Shari Woods and her daughter Anneke, 5, took to the dance floor during the Chicken Dance song.

Woods and her daughter come with friends and have been doing so for the past four years.

“It’s for a great cause and it’s so fun – the girls enjoy face painting and get their hair done,” Woods said.

Marshall Townsend and his son Jeremiah from Sylvan Lake enjoyed their first Breakfast with Santa this year, and the father already has plans to come back in 2019.

“We’re going back every year,” he said, adding the “breakfast was great. Jeremiah was very happy to see Santa this morning.”

Manon Therriault, the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s chief executive officer, said Central Alberta’s generosity has made the Festival of Trees successful once again this year.

Money raised at the festival this year will go toward Pyxis automated medication dispensing stations. The systems, with electronic features, will dispense patient medications efficiently and accurately, reducing the likelihood of human error.

Mistletoe Magic – a father-daughter evening on Saturday – had people stepping up on the spot to raise money for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

The health foundation had plans to raise money for three documentation carts – a piece of equipment that goes hand-in-hand with medstations for data entry and dispenser authorization.

“We wanted to purchase three that night and we were able to purchase four – surpassing our goal for the night,” said Therriault, adding that each cart costs around $7,000.

The total amount raised from the Festival of Trees this year will be available in December, Therriault said.

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Marshall Townsend and his son Jeremiah from Sylvan Lake attended their first Breakfast with Santa this year at Festival of Trees. The father and son enjoyed the breakfast portion of the morning Sunday, before checking out the silent auction items. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

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