Bonnie Herchak

Yuletide tradition could still use your help

Central Albertans sure hold tight to their favourite yuletide traditions that support Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Central Albertans sure hold tight to their favourite yuletide traditions that support Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

All 800 tickets to Mistletoe Magic, the father and daughter dinner and dance at Festival of Trees 2015, sold out within about seven minutes when they went on sale in early October.

“Mistletoe Magic sold out as fast as ever,” said Alaine Martin, project officer with Red Deer Regional Health Foundation, on Tuesday.

She said fathers and daughters of all ages attend the popular event held at the annual hospital fundraiser that will run Nov. 25 to 29 at Stockmen’s Pavilion and Prairie Pavilion at Westerner Park.

It’s not uncommon for limousines to pull up filled with a few fathers and their daughters dressed up for the special evening, she said.

“Everybody is on the dance floor most of the night. The tables are empty. The energy is unbelievable.”

One day there may also be a mother and son event at Festival of Trees.

“We’re really hopeful we’ve come up with a couple ideas to make it fly. I can’t make any promises about when that will be, but we’re working on it for sure,” Martin said.

Other sold out events are Festival of Wines, which has expanded to accommodate 650 people, and Breakfast with Santa.

A Taste of Red Deer is back for its second year with tasty samples from 21 restaurants on Nov. 26. The event is open to anyone who attends the festival. They just need to buy tickets on site for food or drinks.

She said many people probably don’t realize that all the beverages, appetizers, entrées and desserts that restaurants bring are donated to the festival so the money people pay to eat and drink goes directly to Festival of Trees.

Tickets are still available for Festival Business Lunch on Nov. 26 featuring Running Room CEO John Stanton. This year the fashion show at ‘Tis the Season Luncheon on Nov. 28 was replaced with a presentation by Cheeky Couture owner Michele Bilsborrow who will talk about current fashion trends and how to dress for your body type. Luncheon tickets are still available.

The 2014 festival raised $1,075,000 that went to equipping two dedicated operating rooms for scheduled caesarean sections and emergency obstetrical procedures at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

This year money will go to medical specialty clinics at the hospital for Central Albertans living with the following chronic conditions — multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, heart failure, anticoagulation therapies, specialized geriatric services, stroke prevention and complex medical conditions.

More than 24,000 people visited the 2014 festival and over 2,600 volunteers helped out.

There’s still time for people to volunteer at the 2015 festival by calling the volunteer hotline at 587-876-8699 or visiting the festival website at www.reddeerfestivaloftrees.ca.

Martin said despite tough economic times, sponsor support declined by only 10 to 15 per cent this year.

“There’s a perception that we’re so big and successful that we don’t need anymore help. I think that message is very incorrect. Any way that someone can give, whether it be their time, their attendance through general admission or coming to our events, or coming to our preview dinner as one of our silver donors — it all adds up and that’s why we’re so successful.”

This year general admission prices will increase at Festival of Trees. The cost for adults is now $10 each. Seniors (60 and up) and youth (12 to 17) pay $6 each. Children, four to 11, pay $4 and children, three and under, are free.

Martin said admission prices were unchanged for seven years and remain affordable.

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