Christmas Tree Festival returns

After a two-year hiatus, the Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation’s Christmas Tree Festival has returned to the Enmax Centre.

Running from Nov. 20 – 23, the 28th annual festival raises funds for local healthcare with a gala, auction, and a family skate night on Monday.

“Our Christmas tree live auction is a fun filled few days where we have 19 trees displayed and a family fun night with Santa Claus visiting the ice,” said Allan Bartolcic, executive director at CRHF. “The auction on Wednesday will have all these beautiful trees auctioned off, with proceeds going back to the foundation.”

The CRHF is a charitable organization dedicating to raising funds to support the work of the Chinook Regional Hospital and Alberta Health Services here in Lethbridge and southern Alberta.

“It goes back to the greatest needs of the hospital, purchasing state of the art equipment to attract and retain the local talent that we have here in Alberta,” said Bartolcic. “We want to continue to maintain the course of special programs and services within the hospital.”

Gathering in 2019, the festival raised over $160,000 for the foundation, which is looking to increase those numbers with its 2022 return.

“We have had more sponsors than we have ever had in the past 27 years,” said Bartolcic. “That speaks to the support within the community. We have a seasoned team and we have many years of experience. We have had about a 25 per cent increase from 2019 on day one.”

With a committee that is dedicated and passionate about raising funds, the auction will see a collection of trees and items for all to bid on.

“I have been on the committee for 18 years decorating trees,” said Sandra Hoffarth, with Photography by Sandra. “It is such a good cause and it goes toward the hospital. The committee is a fun group to work with and they are all very passionate about raising funds and looking for silent auction items around the city. This year I think we have around 60 items brought in by the committee and donated by the people and business around Lethbridge.”

The gala transforms the Enmax Centre into a whimsical winter wonderland for all to enjoy the holiday season, with funds raised helping towards local healthcare. For more information visit crhfoundation.ca.

“We have had trees sell for as much as $12,000,” said Bartolcic. “Come one, come all, and have a look at these beautiful trees, and get some ideas for your own trees. When you are here it is very exciting and beautiful.”

Ryan Clarke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald