Almost as magical as Santa himself, a cold barren exhibit hall transforms into a warm, festive holiday haven. Each year, the magic of Festival of Trees unfolds, and with it the hope and future of children in need at Primary Children's Medical Center.
That project was inspired after a vacation in Hawaii and a Christmas boutique featuring small, decorated Christmas trees, centerpieces, and Christmas decorations. The Women expanded the concept to include full-sized decorated Christmas trees, a gift boutique, and a sweet shop.
That first year, there were approximately 60 trees for display and sale in the gymnasium of an old Armory. To everyone's surprise and delight, $47,000 was raised!
Over the years, this beautiful event has blossomed into a forest of more than 800 trees, a gift boutique featuring handmade articles, a sweet shop filled with freshly made candies and baked goods, a display of wreaths and door decorations, centerpieces, gingerbread houses, and backyard playhouses. There is also Santa, activities for children, hot scones and sweet rolls, and continuous live entertainment. In all, the Festival spans over 220,000 square feet of display space. Perhaps the greatest phenomenon of all is that everything is donated. The trees are decorated and purchased by individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and church groups. In addition, others generously donate items to fill the shops. Businesses provide the paper and printing of posters and tickets. Corporations offer their covered trucks and drivers to help deliver the trees, and so much more! Thousands of people join efforts by contributing countless hours and means to give “A Gift of Love" to children in need. In 2008, the Festival raised $1,495,840.74 for children in need at Primary Children's Medical Center.
Over the years, Festival of Trees has been copied many times throughout the United States and Canada. However, the Salt Lake City Festival of Trees remains the "granddaddy" of them all.
Two weeks ago our service group helped contribute to this wonderful event by learning to make (10) these wreaths for the festival this year thanks to the generous help of Kathie, Val and Jay. We had a great time and learned a new skill too. Now we can't wait to actually go to this event to see the other wreaths, trees and other things that will be there for sale!