Festival of Trees celebrates the beginning of the holidays

Medford, Ore.– The 26th annual Providence Festival of Trees brought thousands from the Rogue Valley together this weekend.

For many, this festival is a great way to kick off the holidays.

“It’s nice to see all the people having a good time. All the kids seeing Santa Clause,” said volunteer Lindi Smith. “It’s always so pretty and magical with the trees and the different decorations. Different ideas on how they express them (trees) is fun to see.”

But it’s not just about the trees. Money raised from the event supports the Providence Community Health Foundation and several specific programs it runs such as the Providence Cancer Center, Swindells Resource Center and the Spiritual Care Fund.

“There are so many folks that pour their heart and soul into this,” said Kate Hutchinson, executive director of Providence. “It’s a fundraiser for Providence so then I, on the flip side, get to see the benefit. Our cancer patients, our families who have kids with special needs, they all get that loving support of Providence thanks to this event.”

With the help of sponsors, children under 12 were able to enjoy the fun for free on Sunday. While many came to say hello to Santa and take part in the Teddy Bear Hospital, the trees remained the focus, inspiring ideas for future tree designers of all ages.

“I’d put on candy canes and like sweet stuff,” said Raegan Burke. She and her family came out to the event to enjoy the festivities. “I would put on stuffed animals. I’d like a snowman kind of or like maybe a reindeer.”

Providence organizers say they’ve already raised $80,000 for children’s services, attaining the goal they had set prior. They hope to reach their ultimate goal of $550,000 by the end of the festival.

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