Businesses, organizations, families and individuals once again have a chance to raise money for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and create beautiful Christmas decorations at the same time.
The annual Festival of Trees will light up the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort lobby this holiday season, raising money and keeping alive the memory of those who have been lost. The fundraising event has been held for more than 30 years.
Sponsors will decorate their tree to their heart’s content and put it on display for all to see. People can then make donations in the name of a certain tree, and the fundraising amounts are tracked online for each one.
There is also a People’s Choice Award, for which the public votes for their favourite tree. The winner will be recognized publicly, and this year, as an added bonus, the sponsor of the winning tree will receive a three-night stay in a newly renovated vacation home at the Delta Grand.
The Festival of Trees is especially near and dear to the hearts of Kelowna’s Rota family. Ruby Rota passed away in May 2017 due to a brain tumour, and her family buys and decorates a tree each year to honour her memory. The Rota tree is often the one that raises the most money, too.
“It’s just part of our grieving processes to try to find something positive around the holidays to remember Ruby by,” dad Wes Rota says. “It’s not just for us, but everybody else that knew her: teachers, friends and all those people. It gives them somewhere positive to go and maybe just reflect a little bit.”
The money raised this year will go to childhood cancer research. Last year’s proceeds went to the fight against diabetes in young people.
Those interested in sponsoring a tree can do so on the Festival of Trees website here. The event’s decorating and kickoff party will be held Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Delta Grand, and the trees will be on display until Jan. 5.