Festival of Trees
December 6, 2017
📷: Maddie Huntley
Festival of Trees
Each year Blank Children’s Hospital puts on a charity event called the Festival of Trees and Lights.
Different organizations make the valiant effort to decorate their tree the best. Trees vary from Disney themes featuring the 2016 hit Moana to your more traditional decorated trees with silver and gold ornaments. The event is said to be the biggest fundraiser the hospital puts on. The festival attracts people of all ages around the Des Moines Area. With the event surrounding the holidays, extended families from out of town have made it tradition to go down to Veteran’s Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center to admire these beautiful trees. Along with the trees, there cookie decorating, train rides, and a appearance from Santa for the kiddos. Live entertainment takes place all days and a special performance the evening of Thanksgiving; this year many gathered around the big screen to enjoy the movie “Elf.”
Festival of Trees and Light brought in over 20,000 people and raised over $600,000 net to support Child Life and Advocacy and Outreach at Blanks Children’s Hospital. With 750 volunteers, 10+ entertainment groups, 84 tree decorations, 170 donors/ sponsors, and 150+ in-kind supporters there is lots that goes into planning this event. Director of Development at Blank Children’s Hospital, Brenna Finnerty, talks about how the biggest obstacle that people don’t see when they attend the event is all the logistics.
The event was founded by former board members Nancy Bone and Joanne Cutler. Over the years it has grown and evolved. Finnerty stated, “It has turned into the ultimate kick off to the holiday season for our community.”
Next year will be the 35th anniversary of the event. They hope to make changes to the event each year always wanting to improve. Finnerty goes on to explain, “We think it is important to change things to make the event look fresh each year.”