SALT LAKE CITY– The annual Festival of Trees fundraiser for Primary Children’s Hospital turns 50 this year. But it will be different in the pandemic.
The theme is “Make Good Grow.” Starting December 1 until the 5, trees will be set up at Vivint Arena. But people will not be able to walk among them. Instead, they will view them online at makegoodgrow.org.
“You can’t really have a true Festival of Trees without carrying on the great tradition of enabling children and families to experience the beauty and magic of all these decorated trees gathered together in one place,” said Jim Olson, president of Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment and the Utah Jazz.
“Even in a virtual setting, it will be magical.”
A 90-minute live broadcast is another unique feature in the works.
Festival of Trees goes virtual
Since the beginning, the Festival of Trees has raised nearly $40 million for children throughout the intermountain west.
The chair of the Festival of Trees volunteer board, Shauna Davis, hopes the virtual aspects will bring in new people donating from around the country.
“If everyone that tunes in and listens to us and invites that special virtual spirit into their homes, then absolutely we will raise more funds,” she said.
Davis says people can drop down in the middle of the trees, zoom in and look around the trees on the interactive website. They can also build a virtual tree, view patient stories, news updates, and Christmas items.
15-year-old Cami Carver also spoke at the news conference outside Vivint Arena. She spent several years being treated at Primary Children’s Hospital for leukemia, before receiving a bone marrow transplant.
“My story is just one of the examples of the many miracles that happen at Primary Children’s every day. That’s why I’m so happy to be a part of this year’s Festival of Trees,” she said.
“COVID-19 may have forced us to socially distance and be apart from each other, but that doesn’t mean it can stop our holiday spirit or stop Santa and his elves,” she said.
Check out footage of the event here: