This Thanksgiving weekend, Skagit Valley’s Festival of Trees will bring the magic of the holiday season to life for a great cause. Presented by title sponsor Peoples Bank, the event is in its 34th year of raising money for the Skagit Regional Health Foundation. As the philanthropic arm of Skagit Regional Health (SRH), the foundation has raised close to $22 million for local healthcare projects. As the foundation’s biggest annual fundraiser, the Festival of Trees alone has contributed more than $7 million to this total.
Festival of Trees Benefits Cardiac Care
This year, proceeds from the Festival of Trees will benefit the foundation’s Cardiac Cares Capital Campaign, which is seeking to raise $3 million for state-of-the-art cardiac diagnostic imaging equipment in the next several years. The equipment will be used in two catheterization labs at Skagit Regional’s Heart and Vascular Institute.
The Institute provides top-notch cardiac care for everything from pacemaker procedures to non-open heart, emergency care.
“Skagit is positioned right off I-5, making it accessible and easy for people in multiple counties to get to us, to get the care they need,” says Wendy Ragusa, stewardship and annual fund manager for the foundation. “We’re able to help a lot of people.”
Previous foundation capital campaigns have gone to support Skagit Valley Hospital’s family birth, cardiac rehabilitation, and cancer care centers.
Peoples Bank District Branch Manager Jennifer Covey says this year’s Festival of Trees is expected to raise about $400,000. “The hospital plays a very large role in our community, and we’re proud to support the Skagit Regional Health Foundation at this signature event,” she adds.
Skagit Festival of Trees Schedule and Events
After two pandemic years in which the festival did not proceed as normal, things are back to a more traditional feel in 2022.
The festival kicks off Friday, November 25 at 6 p.m. with a gala and auction at Cascade Mall Center Court in Burlington.
The gala will feature a cocktail party format, with catering provided by La Conner Seafood & Prime Rib. A cash cocktail bar, with four special elixirs from Edison’s Terramar brewstillery, will also be part of the fun. In addition, complimentary champagne, beer, and wine will also be available to attendees.
The auction will feature 29 beautifully decorated Christmas trees, along with another tree to be raffled.
“They are truly incredible works of art,” says Covey. “These are not your standard Christmas trees.”
Some of the tree auctions also come with special gifts. One tree, designed with a Seattle Kraken theme, will include tickets to a hockey game. In addition, dozens of designers will decorate 26-inch noble fir wreaths to be sold.
A handful of exciting adventure-experience packages are also being auctioned, including an Alaska fishing trip for four, scenic plane rides, and weekend getaways in places like Friday Harbor and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Saturday, November 26, the Jolly Gingerbread Jingle Breakfast takes place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. but is already sold out of its 250-person capacity.
The festival concludes with Family Festival Days, which run Saturday, November 26 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, November 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Open to the public, the event features $5 at-the-door admission and free entry to children 2 years and under.
Festival days include light refreshments, live music, and children’s activities that range from cookie decoration to Santa Claus letters.
Skagit Regional Health also got downtown Arlington into the holiday spirit: 18 beautifully crafted, 2-foot-tall tabletop trees are on display until November 27 in the front windows of businesses. All the trees are being auctioned off, exclusively online, to further benefit the foundation’s goal. Small signs next to each tree contain QR codes that, when scanned with a phone, take a person directly to the auction website.
All in all, the Skagit Regional Health Foundation is truly excited for the festivities that await, and the positive impact that they will have on Skagit County healthcare.
“Peoples Bank has been an amazing partner for more than 10 years, supporting us specifically with this event,” Ragusa says. “We’re just so fortunate with all the great partners in our business community, plus families and individuals who sponsor and support the event.”
Learn more at the Festival of Trees website.