Red Deer Regional Health Foundation's Festival of Trees began this weekend at Westerner Park in Red Deer. (Photo via Facebook)

Festival of Trees returns in Red Deer

Festival of Trees is back.

The annual holiday-themed event, hosted by the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation, features dozens of Christmas trees and public activities at Westerner Park in Red Deer.

Setup for the festival began Tuesday and Wednesday last week, said Anisa Ahmad, who handles marketing and communications for the foundation.

“There have been countless hours (put in by) so many volunteers, which obviously we’re so appreciative of,” Ahmad said Saturday.

“I’m just in awe of what this place looked like when we walked in here … and what it looks like now. There are so many (trees) and I feel like all of them are my favourite.

“They’re so interesting, they’re so creative and they’re so unique, with the colours and the decor, the time and effort that went into them, and the attention to detail.”

The 2020 Festival of Trees was held at Bower Place mall instead of Westerner Park due to COVID-19.

Money raised through this year’s event will be used for “critically needed equipment in the operating room to help provide a higher level of service to central Albertans,” the event’s website states.

“Red Deer Hospital serves over 500,000 people, and approximately 150 surgical procedures are completed each week at our hospital, including general surgery, gynecological surgery and endoscopy,” a statement on the website said.

“As the only referral centre in the Central zone, Red Deer Hospital handles some of the most complex operating room procedures.

“Red Deer Festival of Trees 2021 is dedicated to providing funding for critical operating room equipment. Having access to new and replacement equipment for the (operating room) will improve the patient experience and reduce wait times for life-saving surgeries, allowing our friends and family to remain close to home during their procedures.”

The tree room was open this weekend and will also be open next weekend – Friday from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A Christmas market in the tree room offers take-home crafts for children and a selection of Christmas gifts, sweets and trinkets. Most items available at the market are available for online purchase with curbside pickups.

The Preview Dinner, Festival of Wines, Mistletoe Magic and Candy Cane Lane are not returning at this year’s Festival of Trees. These are expected to return in 2022.

For more information, visit www.reddeerfestivaloftrees.ca.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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