Red Deer Festival of Trees fans will once again be able to attend some of their favourite Christmas activities in person.
Last year the pandemic forced the annual festival to become a strictly virtual event. But the 2021 festival will open its doors to its Tree Room where silent auction items will also be on display, along with the Christmas Market where gifts and sweets will be on sale.
The Tree Room, featuring about 50 decorated trees, will be open Nov. 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 at Westerner Park.
“We’re really grateful to be able to have the opportunity to provide public activities for our community this year,” said Manon Therriault, Red Deer Regional Health Foundation CEO.
“This event is in its 28th year. We’re hoping people will be excited and come and support us and take it all in.”
Galas at the festival, like the Festival of Wines and Mistletoe Magic, will not be held this year, but will return in 2022.
The foundation hopes to raise over $500,000 for operating room (OR) equipment that includes tools for laparoscopic and cataract surgery, three nephroscopes for kidney surgery, an ear, nose and throat navigation system, and an entrophy modual that monitors anesthesia drugs during surgery and reduces delirium in elderly patients.
“We haven’t done any large scale projects for the OR for a while in terms of fundraising. The seven different types of equipment are to ensure that all different areas of the OR are being supported.”
Festival admission will be reduced to $2 per person, and the festival will follow the pandemic protocols set out by Westerner Park which has implemented Alberta’s restriction exemption program.
The festival’s Christmas trees and the auction items will be available for viewing online. Most items at the Christmas Market will be available for online purchase with curbside or in-person pickup.
“Attending an event isn’t for everyone, especially now. Being able to offer the Festival of Trees in a virtual fashion again will allow people to participate if they’re not comfortable coming in person.”
The Christmas Jingle Cash Lottery, introduced last year, is back and the top prize is $25,000.
Therriault said the foundation is grateful to all the festival sponsors and volunteers.
Volunteers can still apply.
“It’s a very large event. Anyone interested in volunteering, we encourage them to come and visit our website to sign up.”
For more festival information visit www.reddeerfestivaloftrees.ca.