Festival of Tree’s Gala: ‘Biggest social event of the year’

By SHANE RICHARD BELLL

Staff writer/Coeur d’Alene Press

Something very magical happens at the Kootenai Health Foundation’s annual Festival of Trees gala.

“It’s a beautiful event and it makes you feel good,” said event co-chair and co-emcee Jeanne Norton of Silverwood Theme Park. “It’s the colors. The trees are absolutely stunning and there’s beautiful music.”

It’s an event that draws the support of an active community for a worthwhile cause. “Instead of having Christmas dinner with just your family, it’s a Christmas dinner with the whole community,” said Norton.  

The 2012 Festival of Trees Gala on Saturday, Nov. 24, at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Guests will enjoy an elegant dinner, auction of the lavishly decorated Christmas trees, a no-host bar and music by the Hitmen and Valerie Stichweh. “It really puts you into the holiday spirit a month early,” Norton said.

The Christmas trees, around 30 this year, are decorated and donated by local businesses and community members. Each one is thoughtfully considered and exceptionally adorned. Silverwood Theme Park is designing a tree that is “for men by men.” “You’ll have to leave that one to your own imagination,” Norton said.

Proceeds raised by the Festival of Trees will benefit neonatal services at Kootenai Health. “What’s so nice about that is when babies here need critical care, the baby and the family don’t have to go to Spokane to get it,” Norton said. “It keeps everything local- the baby, the family, the doctors, everything.”

“I care about this community and support raised at the Festival of Trees goes directly back to our community,” Norton said. “You know that you are making a difference in somebody else’s life.” 

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