COVID-19 may be keeping us socially distanced – but it can’t mess with Santa

Despite the many obstacles the pandemic has thrown at us all, we’re delighted to confirm that our annual Festival of Trees, in support of Primary Children’s Hospital, will continue this year in a reimagined way. We’ll deliver the same joy and spirit this great holiday tradition has spread throughout the past 50 years, but with some new and innovative twists. We’ll also make things festive while keeping the health and safety of the community, patients and families, and team members as our highest priority.

Santa’s told us to get busy with our planning and to not give away any surprises just yet – stay tuned for some exciting announcements soon regarding this year’s Festival of Trees!

Welcome to Festival of Trees

Registration for this year’s event will open on Monday, August 3, 2020.

Thank you for your continued support of the Festival of Trees. Please continue to check our website at festivaloftreesutah.org for updates.

Each year, holiday magic abounds thanks to the help of many hands and a generous community. In a 24-hour period, an empty exhibit hall transforms into a holiday winter wonderland of uniquely decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, playhouses, centerpieces, quilts, and gingerbread houses. Shops are filled with dolls, handmade crafts and quilts, freshly baked cookies and candies, an endless assortment of freshly-made fudge, hot scones, and cinnamon rolls.

Funds raised at Festival of Trees are a “A Gift of Love” to children at Primary Children’s Hospital. While the Festival of Trees lasts just four days, the spirit of this holiday tradition continues all year long in the hearts of those who volunteer and give to the Festival of Trees. Most importantly, the magic continues in the children who are cared for at Primary Children's Hospital.

Experience the holiday magic yourself by participating or attending this year's event.

General Information

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Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Festival of Trees?

Festival of Trees is open to the general public Wednesday, December 2 through Saturday, December 5, 2020, from 10:00 am - 9:00 pm. Festival of Trees Opening Night is on Tuesday, December 2020. 

Where is the Festival of Trees?

The event will be held virtually this year and information will be posted on our website as plans are solidified

Where does the money go that is raised during the Festival of Trees?

Funds raised at Festival of Trees goes to help children at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Primary Children's Hospital ensures that every child receives the best medical care possible, regardless of race, religion, or ability to pay.

How do I buy a tree at Festival of Trees?

Trees are sold through an auction on Opening Night, which is an event that is held the evening before Festival of Trees opens to the public.

Are items available for purchase after the auction on Opening Night?

To find out if items are still available for purchase during the week of Festival of Trees, visit primary.givesmart.com 

How can I donate to the Festival of Trees?

See the "Get Involved" page for more information.

How else can I become involved with Festival of Trees?

For information on how you can become more involved with Festival of Trees contact Intermountain Foundation at 801-442-3852. You can also contact Festival of Trees Leadership by visiting the Leadership and Contact Info page.

Who do I contact for Media questions? 

Please contact Festival of Trees Publicity Chair, RaCail Hays at fotpublicity@gmail.com or (801) 367-6457.

History

In the beginning ...

The Festival of Trees was inspired 50 years ago by a group of 15 women from along the Wasatch Front. These women were challenged by Lewis M. Jones, Chairman of the hospital's Men's Endowment Board, to identify a way to raise funds for the hospital.

Organized as the Women's Endowment Committee and led by Betty Wells, the group sold tickets to the Ice Capades and dabbled in other projects in an attempt to raise funds. They soon determined they had spent too much time and energy for too little return. They searched for one project they could devote all their efforts on.

That project was inspired when Co-Chair Ruth Flint vacationed in Hawaii and attended a Christmas boutique featuring small, decorated Christmas trees, centerpieces, and Christmas decorations. The Women's Endowment Committee expanded the concept to include full-sized decorated Christmas trees, a gift boutique, and sweet shop. At that time, Primary Children's Hospital was owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and much of the support would come from church members.

That first year, there were approximately 60 trees for display and sale in the gymnasium of the old Armory off Sunnyside Avenue. To everyone's surprise and delight, $47,000 was raised!

Present day

Today, the Festival of Trees is held at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy, Utah. (note: Festival of Trees will not be held at Mountain America Expo Center in 2020). Over the years, this beautiful event has blossomed into a festival that spans over 220,000 square feet of display space.

Perhaps the greatest phenomenon of all is that everything is donated. The trees are decorated and purchased by individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and church groups. In addition, others generously donate items to fill the shops. Businesses provide the paper and printing of posters and tickets. Corporations offer their covered trucks and drivers to help deliver the trees, and so much more! Thousands of people contribute countless hours and means to give “A Gift of Love" to children. In 2019, the Festival raised $2.6 million for children at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Over the years, Festival of Trees has been copied many times throughout the United States and Canada. However, the Salt Lake City Festival of Trees remains the "granddaddy" of them all.