O Christmas tree, O Christmas Tree

Festival of Trees fundraiser helps improve health care facilities, expand services and technology

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The 29th annual Festival of Trees

What: An annual fundraiser benefitting Kootenai Health. The Festival Gala, the community's only black tie event, includes an elegant dinner, exciting auction, trees for purchase, dancing, and more. A breathtaking display of ornately decorated, themed Christmas trees will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Where: The Coeur d'Alene Resort Convention Center

When: November 24 through November 27

Friday d'Lights, Friday, Nov. 24 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Open to the public

The Gala,  Saturday, Nov. 25 from 5 p.m. to midnight. Advance tickets required

Family Day, Sunday, Nov. 26  from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open to the public

Children's Workshop, Sunday Nov. 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to the public

Fashion Show Luncheon, Monday, Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Advance tickets required

Fashion Show Dinner, Monday, Nov. 27 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Advance tickets required

Benefit: This year, proceeds will benefit the expansion of the Emergency Department and Operating Rooms.

Creating the “Wow” moment is always the goal when it comes to the Festival of Trees.

Dozens of dedicated adults, er, elves are spending time away from their families and loved ones in the coming weeks to create a work of art that will raise thousands of dollars for the Kootenai Health Foundation.

“The Festival of Trees is the holiday kickoff in North Idaho,” said Shelley Johnson,  a manager from Tomlinson Sotheby's International Realty. “We understand how special this place is because of the natural beauty, the amazing lakes, the skiing opportunities, the golf and the people. We care about each other in big and small ways. The Festival of Trees is a big way.”

 Johnson said she and her fellow employees have already begun work on this year's entry and they're dedicated to creating something awe-inspiring.

“It's not just a tree, it's an epic project,” she said. “We're going to be working nights and weekends to get this done in time.”

The Kootenai Health Foundation's 29th annual Festival of Trees will take place Nov. 24-Nov. 27 at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. The focal point of the fundraiser, the Gala, is a black-tie event where the trees are auctioned off. Since 1989, the Festival of Trees has raised about $6.4 million for major health care initiatives.

Tomlinson has been a tree sponsor at the Festival of Trees since 2004. Last year, the real estate company incorporated a golf cart into its tree by turning the cart into a bar next to the tree.

It sold for $13,000 to a private bidder.

“We're feeling the pressure to outdo ourselves and have the highest selling tree,” said Johnson. “We're going to have a special surprise for everyone to see and we can't wait to unveil it.”

Tomlinson's Christmas tree will be auctioned off to the highest bidder to raise money for the Kootenai Health Foundation.

“We are proud to be a supporter of Kootenai Health Foundation and the Festival of Trees. Quality health care in our community is vital as we promote North Idaho to the world,” said Johnson. “We appreciate all that Kootenai Health is doing to be an exceptional organization for all. It's our honor to give back to the community and help Kootenai Health help others.”

Proceeds from the fundraiser will directly support the expansion of Kootenai Health's Emergency Department and Operating Rooms. Last year the Festival of Trees raised $439,518 for the expansion projects.

Kootenai Health undertook a $57 million, three-story hospital expansion, which opened in 2016. The health care provider is now in the finishing stages of a $42.5 million project that includes the operating rooms, emergency department, and related support departments.

 “The future of health care is changing, and community needs are growing,” said Julie Holt, Kootenai Health Foundation President. “That's why we must do more. In 2015, the Foundation launched a campaign to raise $12.5 million in private investments for hospital improvements that directly benefit patient care. The community has generously supported this campaign, but we aren't there yet.”

For more information about the Festival of Trees or to get involved, contact the Kootenai Health Foundation at (208) 625-4438 or email: foundation@kh.org

--Written by Marc Stewart, Director of Sponsored Content

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