It’s the largest fundraising event put on by Spirit of the North, and the unofficial start to the holiday season. The 23rd annual Festival of Trees is set to get underway.
It will kick-off at the Civic Centre at 6 p.m. with a fashion show.
Bringing in people from all over northern BC, the 10-day event raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for healthcare improvements in our region.
Last year, the festival raised over $550,000. This year, Spirit of the North has set a $500,000 goal for the Breast Health Imaging Clinic.
CEO of the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, Judy Neiser, says “Instead of the waiting, the anticipation, the frustration I guess of going and having a scan and going and waiting and whatnot, it’s going to condense the whole process.”
Last year the festival featured 100 trees for the City’s 100th birthday. While the event is downsized to about 50 trees, the displays are stunning. “People come in and they just stare around and it’s calming, it’s peaceful, it’s beautiful and you know it doesn’t even have to be about Christmas,” says Neiser. “It’s just a winter wonderland. The calmness that goes with it and the beauty of this time of year.”
In celebration of the Healthcare Foundations 25th anniversary, the theme is just that; ‘Spirit of the North’. “The aurora borealis, all the wonder and mystery that goes with the northern lights,” says Neiser. “I think it will be very beautifully showcased in the Civic Centre this week.”
Well over 600 volunteers worked to put on the festival. Devyn Norn co-designed the ‘Alice in Winterland’ display. She has had a hand in tree designing for the past 4 years, and says it is the highlight each year. “You almost get tears in your eyes looking at it, it just comes out so pretty. Then of course with all the other trees and lighting it just makes the trees come to life.”