Road Trippin' : Festival of Trees
The lights are on and the finishing touches are complete. The trees at the 27th annual Providence Festival of Trees were in the works a year ago.
“A lot of them start a year in advance so we're already talking about next year right now,” Katie Hutchinson with Providence Community Health Foundation says. She says there are a lot of people behind the scenes to make this happen.
“If you look at all these large trees, there's easily four to five people who have worked on every single tree. We've got 29 of those this year, plus some of the table top trees, some of those have three to five people who have worked on those. The mini trees, groups of people have worked on those. In addition to all the designers and artists, we have hundreds of volunteers that help us throughout the entire event,” Hutchinson says.
Festival of Trees has been evolving and changing over the last two decades.
“In 1991, we went to a convention and were looking for new ideas for fundraising and someone brought the idea back to Southern Oregon and the folks at Providence to get this started,” Hutchinson says.
Starting Friday, November 30th through Sunday, December 2nd, the doors at the Medford Armory will open to the public for families to come in and take in the wonder of the holidays. Admission is $5, although Seniors, 60 and older get in free on Friday. Military and veterans get in free on Saturday and children 12 and under get in free on Saturday.
“We hope people will come in, get inspired, it's like best dose of the holiday season to get started, bring your family, come see Santa and go into our teddy bear hospital. Kids get to buy a bear, or bring their own, they can fix it up. Sometimes there's nothing wrong with the bear, they just needed a check-up and it's very cute,” Hutchinson says.
All the proceeds go to the Providence Community Health Foundation, which supports several causes at Providence Medical Center. Those include the breast center, Swindells Resource Center, cardiac services and the hospital’s birth place, plus many more.
Hutchinson says this festival wants to remind people each year what the season is all about, which is giving hope to others.
“Everything we raise here in this beautiful community supports our community, our neighbors.”