The annual Providence Festival of Trees returns for its 27th year next week, and organizers say this year is all about renewing the wonder and inspiration of holidays.
“Our theme this year is ‘Wonder,’” says Katie Hutchinson, executive director of Providence Community Health Foundation, in a press release. “We’re excited to remind the community why the holidays are so special and what this event is all about.”
The multiday event begins with its sold-out fundraising gala and auction Wednesday, Nov. 28, continues with a holiday party Thursday, Nov. 29, and concludes with tours of trees and centerpieces festively decorated by local businesses, interior designers, florists and other talented people Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 30 through Dec. 2, at the Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway.
Rogue Valley caterers, restaurants, vintners, brewers and distributors will provide cuisine and beverages from 6 to 10 p.m. for the festival’s holiday party. There will be raffles, music and dancing. Cocktail attire is recommended. Tickets are $75, and reservations can be made online at providencefoundations.org or by calling 541-732-5193.
Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5. Kids 2 and younger get in free. Admission is free for ages 60 and older Friday, for veterans and active military members Saturday, and for kids 12 and younger Sunday.
“We have some really amazing submissions this year,” Hutchinson says. “While the trees are always a highlight, we hope our visitors see this event as an opportunity to bring families and friends together — especially with the meaning behind it all.”
Hundreds of volunteers worked hard to pull this year’s event together. Visitors who enter the Medford Armory will be greeted by nearly three dozen trees with themes ranging from Dr. Seuss, which supports Swindells Resource Center, to the Harry & David tree decked out in bejeweled succulents. In addition, kids of all ages will be able to meet and take a free picture with Santa, heal their stuffed animals at the annual Teddy Bear Hospital, and visit the gift shop to find unique gifts and decor.
“We really do have something for everyone,” Hutchinson says. “There’s something new to see every year. This isn’t a one-time experience. We truly believe this is the best way to kick off the holiday season in the Rogue Valley. Providing hope for others while finding inspiration.”
Providence’s focus on family can be seen in everything from its new advertising campaign to the beneficiaries of the fundraising efforts. All of the money raised will go to Providence Community Health Foundation programs, including breast cancer care, cardiac services, and Swindells Resource Center, with additional effort to expand Providence Medford Medical Center’s BirthPlace.
“Providence’s BirthPlace provides a different experience for families here in the valley,” says Jeremy Lever, a new father and vice president of Providence Community Health Foundation’s board of directors.
“As new parents, we were pleased to be in a nice large room where we were able to stay together through the labor, delivery and recovery. The care team, especially the nurses, give such awesome, compassionate care, he said in a press release. “The community’s support this weekend means a lot and helps ensure more families get to have this special experience.”
Organizers hope tree festival visitors realize how much they’re helping their neighbors just by attending the event. That message is clear in the locally produced advertising campaign that debuted this year. Television ads, created by ADSMASH, feature a young boy whose Christmas wish is for his sick mother to be well.
“The new ad hints at how remarkable the trees and the festival experience can be, but there is so much more to this event,” Hutchinson says. “It’s a reminder that everyone who comes through those doors is helping someone else. Not just current patients at the hospital, but friends, neighbors and other community members who may need our services. It is about hope, and you never know who might need a little hope this season.”