Festival of Trees provides cheer throughout year

EVERETT — Everett’s 27th annual celebration of the opening of the Christmas season is just a day away.

The free community open house, part of Festival of Trees, is scheduled from noon until 8 p.m. Wednesday at Comcast Arena.

There will be musical performances all day, crafts for the kids, a chance for children to have their pictures taken with Santa and a room full of 17 elegantly decorated Christmas trees, displaying the work of 74 volunteer designers and decorators.

More than 3,000 children and adults attended the open house last year.

“I think the community open house is the one day that people can really come in and participate in Festival of Trees and kick off the holiday season,” said Tina Gilson, director of annual giving for Providence General Foundation.

“We coordinate with outside community groups, like schools and choirs, to have live entertainment during the day,” she said. “People love that. It fills the room with holiday spirit.”

Frontier Communications will donate $1 to the Providence General Foundation for every person who attends Wednesday’s open house.

The Festival of Trees is part of week-long effort to raise money for Providence Children’s Services, which is funded in part by the foundation. The nonprofit helps fund programs at the Children’s Center. Services provided include physical therapy, occupational therapy and assessment for high risk infants. More than 350 children and their families receive services each week at the center, which is in Everett.

Other Festival of Trees events this week include a dinner and auction on Thursday evening. Last year, about $650,000 was raised through donations, the live auction and related events. The trees on display at Wednesday’s open house are among the items auctioned at the dinner.

The Festival of Trees has raised more than $6 million for Providence Children’s Services since its inception.

Money raised during Festival of Trees events also helps pay for Camp Prov, a weeklong summer day camp for children, who, because of their medical conditions or developmental delays are not able to attend other summer camps, Gilson said.

“It’s the first big holiday event here in town,” Gilson said. “People can come and stay for an hour and enjoy the entertainment or pop in and get decorating ideas for their home.

“It’s a neat holiday feeling when you walk into the room,” Gilson said. “It gets you in the spirit.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

Open house Wednesday

A free community open house, part of the annual Festival of Trees, is scheduled from noon until 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Comcast Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave. in Everett.

Pictures can be taken with Santa during the entire event. Children’s crafts will be provided from 3 to 6 p.m.

Performances:

Noon to 12:45 p.m.: Fairmount Elementary School Choir

1 to 1:45 p.m.: Evergreen Middle School Choir

2 to 2:45 p.m.: Mountlake Terrace High School chamber groups

3 to 3:45 p.m.: Basically Brass Choir

4 to 4:45 p.m.: Everett Chorale

5 to 5:45 p.m.: Bothell High School Jazz Choir

6 to 6:45 p.m.: Seattle Flute Society

7 to 7:45 p.m.: Snohomish County Children’s Choir

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