The annual Festival of Trees – a beloved Utah Holiday Tradition – will ring in the holiday season Nov. 29 through Dec. 2, with hundreds of beautiful holiday items handmade to benefit children in need at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and beyond.
A treasured tradition of 53 years, the Festival of Trees is presented by the Intermountain Foundation and brought to life by a dedicated 80-member community volunteer board.
This year’s festival will feature more than 500 beautifully decorated trees that are twinkling with a half million lights, 100 wreaths, nativities, gingerbread houses, quilts and more, available for purchase or bid at silent auction.
Festival attendees also can enjoy scones, live music and dance performances, visits with Santa Claus, and choose from 51 flavors and a total of 5,000 pounds of locally renowned Festival of Trees fudge.
Items for auction and sale at the festival were handcrafted and donated by thousands of volunteers from throughout Utah and neighboring states.
All funds raised support Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital mission to provide care to children in need, as part of Intermountain Health’s Primary Promise to create the nation’s model health system for children.
“We’re very grateful to our dedicated volunteers, and for the continued community support of Festival of Trees that helps us meet the growing, more complex needs of children by strengthening and expanding the expertise of Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital,” said Katy Welkie, chief executive officer of Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and vice president of Intermountain Children’s Health.
Last year’s Festival of Trees raised $3.1 million to help patients like Afu Fiefia, a high school athlete who started experiencing pain in his lower leg when he was 14 years old. Everyone attributed it to sports, but by the time football season rolled around, the pain hadn't gone away. His parents scheduled an MRI to identify the cause.
The results were more serious than expected: Afu had a rare form of bone and soft tissue cancer called Ewing sarcoma, which is known to have a low survival rate and a high return rate.
Fiefia started chemotherapy at Primary Children's Hospital right away. With his initial treatment plan, he underwent 14 rounds of chemotherapy and 41 rounds of radiation in different areas of his body.
Fiefia went into a brief remission in the 2022, but the cancer returned only 3 months later. His oncology team at Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital recommended a different chemotherapy treatment plan, where he went through an additional nine rounds of chemotherapy.
"At first, I wondered why this was happening to me,” Fiefia recalls of his journey. “But as I saw how my family and other people reacted, I thought, maybe it's to bring people closer together, to strengthen my faith, and to deepen our family bond."
As of March 2023, Fiefia is once again in remission. While the future remains uncertain, he and his family are filled with hope, gratitude, love, and determination.
“Afu and his family are a wonderful source of support and encouragement for other families facing similar challenges, letting them know they are not alone,” said Janet DeWolfe, executive director of Intermountain Foundation at Primary Children’s Hospital. “We invite the community to join us in helping patients like Afu at the Festival of Trees and start the holiday season with the warmth of giving.”
- Tickets available at FestivalofTreesUtah.org or at the door at Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy from Nov. 29 through Dec. 2.
- Silent auction for trees, wreaths, and other items will be held at FestivalofTreesUtah.org starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, through 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29.
- Quilts and seasonal items can be purchased online Nov. 28 - Dec. 2 at FestivalofTreesUtah.org.
MEDIA NOTE: Images and video available upon request.