Thursday, September 16, 2010

Festival of Trees 2010

Primary Children's Medical Center hosts an annual fundraiser called "Festival of Trees." I had such a good experience designing an entry last year (click HERE to see it) that I decided to create another entry this year.

Within a day of filling out the 2010 registration forms, I was contacted by the communications specialist at PCMC asking if they could use our tree in their press release. The release went out Tuesday (thank you Mom for noticing), although I assume the local news agencies will not pick it up until November.

Here is the release, including Bridgette's story (paragraphs 6 & 7):


Salt Lake City, UT – The Festival of Trees celebrates its 40th birthday this year – but there’s nothing “over-the-hill” about Utah’s favorite Holiday tradition. Today, as one of the world’s largest indoor displays of decorated Christmas Trees, the Festival embraces its Ruby Anniversary through the passion embodied by thousands of volunteers who organize and orchestrate the Festival in order to raise funds for children at Primary Children’s Medical Center.

The Festival of Trees ushers in the Holiday Season Wednesday, December 1 through Saturday, December 4, at the South Towne Expo Center. Every penny raised benefits Primary Children’s Medical Center.

Since 1971, over $24 million has been raised for children at Primary Children’s through the Festival of Trees. The event’s success is propelled by the passion and support of community and volunteers. From its humble beginnings of 60 trees displayed in a gymnasium, the Festival has grown to span 220,000 square feet of display space at the South Towne Expo Center.

More than 90,000 people visit the Festival each year as they come to see over 1,000 displays of imaginatively decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, centerpieces, gingerbread creations, backyard playhouses, and quilts. In addition, there are activities for children and entertainment for the entire family.

This year the Festival will feature more than 800 trees, each with its own unique style: ornate, trendy, whimsical, creative, humorous, and sentimental. Every tree is decorated and donated by individuals, families, businesses, church groups, and community organizations.

(Paragraph 6) In addition to exhibiting a distinct personality, each tree also has a unique story behind its creation. This year, a tree will honor the hope and healing Primary Children’s Medical Center has provided for 2-year-old Bridgette Johnson and her parents Kelly and Jeff of Lindon, Utah. Only a few days after her birth, Bridgette was close to death. Her digestive organs were in distress. Bridgette was transported to Primary Children’s by ambulance and was diagnosed with Hirschsprung Disease, a rare medical abnormality affecting the intestines. Bridgette’s nerve cells did not function properly. She could not process food, and she was dangerously dehydrated. Her body began to turn septic. Bridgette spent two weeks at Primary Children’s and underwent open-abdominal surgery. A year later, she had additional surgery to remove her entire large intestine and part of her small intestine.

(Paragraph 7) Today, Bridgette’s condition requires a special diet and care. However, her parents are certain she will lead a fairly normal life, thanks to the treatment she received at Primary Children’s Medical Center. Kelly Johnson said, “We wanted to donate a tree to the Festival in Bridgette’s honor to celebrate the fact that Primary Children’s saved our daughter’s life.” Mrs. Johnson is naming her tree “Sugar and Spice” to recognize both the sweet and the sting that represents her first two years of parenthood.

This year, the Festival of Trees will offer a limited edition cookbook, “Celebrating 40 years of Festival – Recipes from the Heart.” The book features recipes submitted by Festival friends and volunteers. In addition, those who attend the event will enjoy favorite Festival features such as fudge, divinity, scones, and sweet rolls to satisfy any appetite. Holiday entertainment is found on two stages, and the Gift Boutique offers handmade items for the perfect gift.

The Festival offers something for the entire family, particularly children. Santa will be available at Santa Land to hear each child’s wish and pose for photos. Kids Korner has creative activities for the young at heart, such as arts and crafts, face painting, and the opportunity to experience being inside a giant bubble. The Small Fry Shop carries items priced for a child’s budget.

“The real excitement of the Festival’s 40th anniversary is celebrating our community,” said Robyn Austin, Festival of Trees Executive Board Chairwoman. “We are celebrating the ‘Gift of Love’ given to children at Primary Children’s Medical Center from all who have decorated, donated, and attended the Festival for the past 40 years.”

The Festival of Trees is organized by an 86-member volunteer board, which works throughout the year to orchestrate this four-day event. Assisting Mrs. Austin are Co-chairwomen: Shauna Kerr, Centerville; Marie Partridge, Kaysville; and Frances Morgan, Sandy.

Every penny raised by the Festival of Trees helps children at Primary Children’s Medical Center. Last year alone, Primary Children’s expended over $14.3 million to ensure that every child received medical care regardless of ability to pay.

Celebrate the Holiday Season and the love our community has for children by attending the Festival of Trees! The Festival runs Wednesday, December 1 through Saturday, December 4, at the South Towne Expo Center, 9575 South State Street in Sandy, Utah, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are: $5.00/adults; $4.00/seniors; and $3.00/children age 11 and under. Children younger than 2 years of age are free of charge. Discount tickets are available at Zions Bank locations for: $4.00/adults; $2.50/children. Wednesday, December 1, is “Family Day,” allowing six immediate family members to attend for $15.00.

This year, our tree will be located at J-8. "J" as in Johnson. Easy.

Starting two months earlier than I did last year, I've already purchased the tree, many of the ornaments, and some of the display items. If you'd like to help contribute to this year's efforts, please check back in a few days for a sidebar link with more information on what help we still need.


Lore said...

Bri's famous!

I look forward to hearing more about this year's festival and what we can do to help.

I love the new pictures of Bridgette.

And, I love you.

April said...

Oh that is wonderful!!! What a special tradition.... Is there anything you'd like me to keep my eye out for?

Joy said...

Love the tree theme this year.

Smith Family said...

How awesome that they used Bri's story! Can't wait to see this year's tree!

123 checkoutourfamily said...

How awesome! I wish we could be there to see. I'm interested to know how we can help.