The Festival of Trees, a charity event that raised about $1.8 million for Primary Children’s Hospital last year, features a gingerbread village, gift boutiques and over 800 decorated holiday trees this Christmas season.
In 43 years the Festival of Trees has raised $33 million for Primary Children’s Hospital and has become a holiday staple for many Utah families.
This year, the event takes place December 4–7 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at the South Towne Expo Center. Every penny raised goes directly to Primary Children’s Hospital. Main attractions include a sweet shoppe, an aisle of wreaths, a Santa land, a gift boutique and live entertainment.
“Every tree that is donated is donated by someone in our community,” said Natalie Colemere, a member of the executive board. “We raised a lot of money last year, but we can always raise more.”
Every tree, display and treat sold at the event is donated, and all the staff are volunteers to ensure that all profits go to the hospital. Families all around Utah come to see the displays and look for Christmas gifts for loved ones.
“My favorite thing about the event is just knowing that the more time I give, the more money we are going to raise for Primary Children’s,” Colemere said.
Cyndi Wray Lawrence, from Centerville, made a tree for the festival a few years ago in honor of her son Travis, who passed away tragically in 2002.
“Instead of doing Christmas presents that year, our family donated the money we would have spent and did a family tribute to Travis to remember him,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence said the best part of the festival was decorating day when her family helped decorate the tree together and talked to other families with touching stories.
“We had things in common with the other volunteers,” Lawrence said. “It was like a family almost because everyone was there decorating for someone they had lost.”
The South Towne Expo Center is at 9575 S. State Street in Sandy. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5 for adults, $3 for children and $15 for families. Discount tickets can be purchased at most branches of Zion’s Bank.