Mary Bridge Children’s Festival of Trees is an iconic holiday event for Tacoma, Washington. For 30 years, the Festival has attracted both community leaders and members of the general public with a display of ornate and imaginatively decorated evergreen trees that sets the stage for a variety of fundraising events and welcomes visitors of all ages. This year, Festival of Trees takes place December 2, 3 and 4 in the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.
Although there are many reasons to enjoy Festival of Trees, including a number of special performances, photos with Santa, children’s activities and a delightful holiday gift shop, the big attraction is the trees. Each wonderfully decorated tree is the product of hours and hours of volunteer time, from the designers who dream up a theme, to the sponsors who help with expenses, to the logistics crew that delivers trees (after the Festival concludes) to the generous donors who have “won” them during the auction.
Fifty fascinating trees — it takes a while to check them all out and decide which one is your favorite! Some are glamorous and glitzy. Some are ethereal and elegant. Some are humorous and folksy. And some are all out Seahawks! If Festival of Trees is a holiday tradition in your family, then you know what we mean. If you’ve never been, it’s definitely time to take a few fun-filled hours to check it out.
So, that’s the “what” of Festival of Trees. More important is the “why.”
Mary Bridge Children’s Festival of Trees is a purely philanthropic event. 100% of the proceeds, including event registration, admissions tickets, auction items, gift store purchases, raffle tickets and Giving Tree donations, are used to help care for children at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. Although the hospital is located in Tacoma, Mary Bridge clinics can be found in many communities in southwestern Washington. The hospital itself serves children from an even broader geography, for example, Alaska and Idaho.
Each year, the Festival of Trees focuses on a specific Mary Bridge program or cause and also supports “Where the Need Is Greatest.” There is noticeable excitement about 2016’s new event, Tinsel on the Town” and heartfelt emotion about the new program it will help fund: Mary Bridge Adolescent Behavioral Health. This facility and its expert caregivers are desperately needed in Washington State, where there are few programs to help teenagers suffering the onset of a mental health crisis – and their worried families.
The goal of this inpatient program is to provide a safe, restraint-free inpatient environment until the patient is stabilized and feeling secure enough to return to family, school and community.
Your participation in Festival of Trees supports kids and families when they need it the most. So while you are enjoying the trees, the activities and a little bit of shopping, you are also giving a bit of your heart to help others. It’s what Christmas is all about!
Visit festivaloftreestacoma.org for details!