By Mabell, Dave on November 16, 2019.
Bright ribbons with personalized messages will be part of this year’s Christmas Tree Festival at the Enmax Centre.
The Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation, the Lethbridge Public School Division and the University of Lethbridge Bookstore are collaborating on the seasonal event. It’s set for Sunday to Tuesday, with a gala tree auction event on Wednesday.
Doors will be open for public viewing from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, then from noon to 8 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. Monday will be “family day” with entertainment, free skating and a visit from Santa, starting at 5 p.m.
In preparation for the festival, organizers say students wrote wishes on more than 1,600 ribbons.
Along with books, stuffed puppets and toys, they’ll help decorate the trees offered at auction.
This year’s “wish tree”-themed tree concept was spearheaded by the school system’s “One District One Book” committee, creators of a project which saw students, teachers, staff and family members reading the same book at the same time last year. About 13,000 books were given to students from kindergarten to Grade 12.
“The shared experience of reading Katherine Applegate’s ‘Wishtree’ was like a million wishes come true,” one of the participants said.
Autographed copies of the book are part of a “Tree of Knowledge” being created by members of the committee and U of L Bookstore staff for this year’s tree festival.
More books, a Pronghorns jersey, activity passes, theatre tickets – and a pass for introductory climbing lessons at the U of L climbing centre – will also be under the tree.
The fundraising auction, sponsored by Stringam LLP will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, with doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $80.
A weekend getaway at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa and a custom made-to-measure suit from Gentlemen Three Menswear will also be part of the auction.
Proceeds this year will help redevelop the hospital’s mental health facilities.