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Moose Jaw’s popular Festival of Trees celebrates 30 years of charity this December

The Festival of Trees is back for its 30th year and will continue with an online format.

This morning board members of the Moose Jaw Health Foundation (MJHF) joined Festival of Trees Chair Holly Jorstad at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre to announce the latest edition of one of Moose Jaw’s most popular holiday events. Last year the Festival went virtual due to the ongoing pandemic, and due to the proliferation of the Covid-19 Delta variant, this year’s festival will also be online.

Festival of Trees will be celebrating an exhilarating 30 years of support for the MJHF, which has to date raised over 4.6 million dollars toward state-of-the-art upgrades at Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital. Last year’s donations contributed to the purchase of new urology equipment. This year the money raised will assist with buying highly advanced simulation manikins used for training doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists in emergency procedures.

“Homegrown Christmas” is the theme of 2021’s Festival of Trees. The Moose Jaw Health Foundation encourages everyone who wishes to participate to organize home celebrations while taking into account any current SaskHealth group gathering guidelines. The auction will be streamed December 4th at 7:00pm on the DLMS Auction Services website. Lead-up to the actual event is expected to be as spectacular and awe-inspiring as usual with the participation of many local businesses and artists.

The Festival will include the following features and ways to contribute:

-Previews of the digital auction catalogue on the Moose Jaw Health Foundation’s website featuring fantastic tree displays, live auction items, and signature silent auctions starting on December 1st.

-The online auction is an exciting interactive space where you will be able to chat, bid, and challenge your friends.

-Tree displays and select auction items will be displayed in the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre starting in late November. 

-Families and businesses that sponsor or donate items can have their participation highlighted during the auction, on social media, and on the digital donor wall at Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital.

-The MJHF wants to showcase the best of Moose Jaw. Businesses are encouraged to decorate their storefronts in support of the Festival. Donated live-action items will be recognized on social media with the help of WOW Factor Media.

-Dynamic, affordable virtual sponsorships are available to businesses and individuals, including exclusive Festival swag, to help get the party started.

-Host your own party and receive Festival Swag delivered to your home to make the evening even more special. 

-Festival volunteers will deliver an exclusive Festival meal prepared by participating local restaurants to your home the evening of Dec 4th before the livestream event starts. Details on how to purchase the meal option will be announced on the MJHF website.

Although there is no cost to watch the auction on the day, those hoping to participate in bidding should take note that they must sign up in advance. All funds raised by the festival will go toward the support of local frontline healthcare workers.

Ryan Hrechka, Chairman of the Moose Jaw Health Foundation, commented that, “There is no other event like Festival of Trees. The Foundation deeply appreciates the support of the business community. While we would like to do a live event, the safety of our donors comes first. The Festival Volunteer Committee will create another engaging and unforgettable online experience. I encourage every business and person in our community to unite, connect, and give from the comfort of their home.”

Hrechka mentioned further that last year one of his favorite elements of the Festival was the home meal delivery, prepared by Streets Restaurant & Bar and The Mad Greek. All necessary precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of such deliveries again this year. “The meal quality was excellent, and there was more than enough for everyone,” he commented. “There were delicious leftovers for days.”

All board members present for the announcement expressed deep enthusiasm. When asked what those who have not experienced the Festival previously could expect, MJHF Executive Director Kelly McElree said simply, “Hold on.” He continued, “It is truly magical. Many people contribute hundreds of hours to create genuine works of art. And everyone who participates can know that they’re helping to save a life.”

With today’s announcement, the Festival of Trees is officially underway. The volunteer committee chaired by Holly Jorstad has begun regular meetings, and as October becomes November and the big day approaches, Moose Javians should expect to see storefronts decorated throughout the city.