By Murray Crawford
Just days away from the Festival of Trees, volunteers trimmed the trees and strung the Christmas lights around the Stockman Pavilion in anticipation of the highly anticipated event over the weekend.
A team of volunteers are in charge of one of the biggest tasks – decorating the trees.
Among them is Debbie Coleman, a long-time volunteer, has done more than her share of tree decorating.
The chairperson of the facility setup and decorating committee was one of several volunteers at the Westerner on Sunday morning getting the site ready for the big day.
“We decorate these things year round,” said Coleman, a Festival of Trees board member. “Right after Christmas we are buying decorations and taking advantage of the sales.
“We have a great group of girls that help out and allow us to do this.”
With about 60-65 trees this year, which Coleman said was about average, there was plenty of work to do.
“We put more into the ones that are here and put more under the trees,” said Coleman. “It’s a package, for instance the Star Wars one, if you’re buying the tree there is a tree there, but there’s also a fridge that goes with it, a waffle iron and other items. It’s a little more of a gift than a decoration almost.”
Aside from the Star Wars themed tree, which is really a very large Darth Vader costume in the shape of a tree, Coleman pointed out several other interesting trees. One has a wine and dine package, another features snowman trees and even some trees aimed at kids.
“We have a Barbie tree that’s amazing, an Ariel (The Little Mermaid), and there’s a raffle with Finding Dory,” said Coleman.
Though a little bashful about the decorations on her tree at home, she admitted it was “not bad.”
“I do put some love into my own tree,” said Coleman. “We’re tree decorators. We do put some love into our own trees.”
The average tree goes for about $1,000 to $1,500. The money raised goes towards the expansion of the Medical Specialty clinics at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.
The Festival of Trees runs from Nov. 24-27 in all three Westerner Park pavilions.