The Festival of Trees

A 38-year holiday tradition of charity described as a “Gift of Love,” the Festival of Trees has become a Utah institution.
With more than 800 trees on display and nearly 8,000 attendees, the festival is the world’s largest display of decorated Christmas trees as well as centerpieces, wreaths, gingerbread creations and backyard playhouses. Each tree is as unique as the individual, family, business, church group or community organization that decorated and donated.

This year the festival featured a special attraction: folk artist Erick Dowdle donated an original painting of the Festival of Trees. The approximately 56 inches wide by 45 inch tall, professionally framed acrylic painting went to auction that helped to raise money for Primary Children’s Medical Center. Dowdle created and donated this painting out of gratitude towards Primary Children’s, for the treatment his young son received at the hospital several years ago.

The festival was filled with the sights, sounds and smells of the holiday season. The aroma of homemade fudge, divinity, scones and sweet rolls filled the South Towne Expo Center. Holiday entertainment was presented on two stages in the center. Handmade gifts were sold, including homemade quilts. A Kids Korner was setup, to keep the little ones occupied and entertained.

“The Festival of Trees is a Holiday tradition that celebrates the best of Utah,” said Robyn Austin, festival chairwoman. “The Festival provides our community the opportunity to come together to help children, which is truly a gift of love.”
Every penny raised is donated directly to Primary Children’s Medical Center. Last year alone, Primary Children’s expended nearly $8.6 million to ensure that every child received medical care, regardless of race, religion or ability to pay.

For those who missed out on this holiday tradition, check donations can be sent to Primary Children’s to be added to their charity care program. Volunteers can become involved in the Festival of Trees for next year “as early as you want to — just call Primary Children’s Medical Center and they will send you to the right person,” said Sharon Smith, festival publicity chair.
“Tree assignments are sent out the first of June.” You may contact Primary Children’s Medical Center at 801.213.3272 or email to
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