Festival support defies downturn

The 2010 Festival of Trees was the most successful year since the economic downturn, said one of the event co-chairs.

Sherry Daniluk sets out time sheets letting Festival of Trees patrons know the deadline for bidding on trees the public can buy at the Festival of Trees.

Sherry Daniluk sets out time sheets letting Festival of Trees patrons know the deadline for bidding on trees the public can buy at the Festival of Trees.

The 2010 Festival of Trees was the most successful year since the economic downturn, said one of the event co-chairs.

Approximately $875,000 was raised during the five-day festival that was held at Westerner Park from Nov. 23 to 28. The money will be used to purchase cardiopulmonary care equipment for Red Deer Regional Hospital.

This is about $275,000 more than what was raised at the annual event last year.

“I had a gut feeling that it was going to be higher this year,” said co-chair Tyler Bowman.

“I think we’ve definitely seen an upturn in the economy, and I think people were a little bit freer with their giving.”

Some 12,000 people attended this year’s event.

The festival featured 89 designer Christmas trees, 13 more than last year. There were multiple raffles, including one for a fantasy playhouse, and various auctions that included an ultimate garage package. Bowman said money was also raised through 50/50 draws and sales at the gift shop.

And more than $147,000 was donated by the trades people and True-Line Contracting Ltd., who built the festival’s 2010 ‘Trade-itional’ Holiday Home — a three bedroom, 1,548-square-foot home at 56 Clearview Drive.

The home is for sale for $499,900. For more information on the holiday home, visit www.truelinehomes.com/showhomes.html.

The funds raised at this year’s event will buy resuscitation equipment, cardiac monitors, ECG machines, ventilators and a telehealth system.

This equipment will benefit patients with heart or lung issues in a number of areas, including emergency situation, outpatient services, and diagnostic and inpatient care.

Cardiovascular disease causes about 30 per cent of deaths in Canada.

The Red Deer Regional Health Foundation has hosted Festival of Trees for 17 years to raise funds to purchase new medical equipment for the hospital in Red Deer.

To date, more than $6.4 million has been raised.

A record-setting $1.1 million was raised in 2007. More than 22,000 individuals attended the festival that year.

ptrotter@bprda.wpengine.com