Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Festival of Trees 2010

The time has come for everyone in Utah to pack up and spend a morning, afternoon or evening at Festival of Trees at the South Town Expo Center in Sandy, Utah!

Public viewing runs from today, December 1st, to this Saturday, December 4th.

Festival of Trees was started 40 years ago as a fundraiser for Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, the same place Bridgette had both her life-saving surgeries. We still take her there when she falls prey to serious illness and requires IVs, blood tests, stool tests, x-rays, or other specific treatment.

People donate large decorated trees with matching paraphernalia, small decorated trees, wreaths, centerpieces, quilts, gingerbread houses, and sweets. Most items were auctioned off at a fancy gala last night. Anything not bought at auction is available for purchase throughout the week.

Every penny of profit from auctioned items, purchased items, and ticket sales goes to help people pay their medical bills. The Festival doesn't always release precise numbers, but the funds raised are normally over $1 million, sometimes close to $2 million. That's just a drop in the bucket compared to what PCMC itself spends in order to be sure every child who needs it gets treatment.

Ticket prices are $5 for adults, $3 for children 2 and over, and $4 for senior citizens. Tickets are discounted if you purchase them at any Zions Bank.

Besides trees and displays, there are all day performances by community dance and music groups on two stages located at opposite sides of the Expo Center.

They also have a "Small Fry" gift shop designed for a kid's budget, arts and crafts tables, face painting, and new this year, the experience of being inside a giant bubble. In addition, there's a special 40th Anniversary cookbook available for purchase.

Santa loves Festival of Trees and pretty much hangs out there in a place called "Santa Land" until the festival is over.

We donated another tree this year, Aisle J (for Johnson) Space 8 (for the year Bridgette was born, '08). It's called "Sugar & Spice" and was a lot of fun (and work) to plan and set-up. I won't be able to take my family to see it until Saturday, so I won't know if it sold until then. I hope it did!

Bridgette and her tree were chosen as the story highlighted in the festival's press release this year: I don't get the papers, so I'm not sure if the local news agencies ran her story.

Below are a few photos from Decorating Day. (They were taken with a little camera that didn't have focus or lighting options, so I'll take my Canon on Saturday and take a bunch more.)

Just like last year, we had a great experience. We really enjoyed talking to our neighboring tree donors to learn their stories too.

My sister-in-law Heidi set-up with me, and I really appreciated her assistance. It took all day, and if I'd been there alone, I know I couldn't have completed by the time they kicked us out. We were there to the last minute as it was!

Thanks to everyone else who helped out in any way! Some of you donated funds or items, let us borrow the van for transport (thanks Ma & Pa Johnson!), helped make or wire ornaments, sew the treeskirt/tablecloth, reinforce the tree, or offered other types of service that allowed me to focus on the tree when there was so much else going on in our lives.

It may not be obvious from these photos, but down on the tree skirt by the photo, there is a small pile of useful cooking tools -- mixing bowls, muffin tins, whisk, knife, lots of candy molds, melting chocolates, a gingerbread house kit, etc.

On the left of the photo piled on and under the table are cooking foods -- flours, sugars, pie fillings, evaporated and condensed milk, candies, chocolates, spices, and for lazy people like me, cake and brownie mixes.

There's also a plate of cookies on the table for Santa and a plate of carrots for his reindeer.

While we were setting up, a little boy wandered over with his father and said, "Oh Dad! That's the teddy bear I've ALWAYS wanted!" He didn't say it in a whiny, spoiled voice but rather in the voice of a child in awe -- kind of breathy. It was adorable and made my day.

The baby bear is in some pink Christmas preemie pajamas. We couldn't (or didn't have time) to prop open the bedtime storybook the parent bear was supposed to be reading, so it's tucked under his arm.

This was the photo we put on display. We also filled out a card with Bridgette's story that goes to the person who (I hope!) purchases our display. Everything in the display goes to the purchaser -- right down to the photo of Bridgette, the brown felt we put down as "carpet," and the extra fuses for the tree lights.


Kel said...

Here is one place the press release was published!

Lore said...

Looks good, Kelly! Can't wait to see and hear more. Does the tree smell as good as you had hoped?

Tammy and Alvin said...

I love it! Awesome job! We just decorated our family tree last night. Yours beats it hands down. :)

April said...

Oh it looks absolutely wonderful!! WOW!!

HeatherH said...

Your display is amazing! I hope you get a lucky buyer. And I'm so glad Bridgette is doing better!

Buzybugs said...

Cute tree, I am doing my first tree this year- Is this tree in the pictures the 5ft or 7ft? Also, where is the best place to purchase the trees? Can you give me some tips =) Thanks