Festival of Trees Open House scheduled for Nov. 17 at Vendome

Guests enjoy dinner during the 2022 Festival of Trees Gala. Tickets for 2023 are sold out, but the public is invited to the Open House on Friday, Nov. 17 where you can see the trees, meet Santa, and shop. Photo by Philip A. Janquart
Philip A. Janquart
Tickets for the 37th annual Weiser Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees Gala are sold out, but the free Open House is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Vendome Events Center in Weiser and is open to the public.
 “It’s an opportunity for people to see the trees, to listen to holiday music, with local musicians, singers, pianists, and choirs coming to perform throughout the day,” said WMH Foundation Executive Director and Festival of Trees Chair, Kimberly Burgess. “Additionally, Santa will be there from 2-4 p.m. and we have a Christmas store.”
 The store offers holiday Christmas décor such as tree ornaments and other decorations.
 And don’t forget the online auction, which begins on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. and closes Sunday, Nov. 26 at 5 p.m. You can see the items up for bid by visiting www.2023weiserfestivaloftrees.afrogs.org. 
 “We have 47 items that we have gathered from the community and they range from gift certificates to a brand new cruiser bike to vintage home décor to hand-crafted household items, spa packages, tools, pet packages, baby packages, there are just some wonderful things,” Burgess said. 
 “The community has been so generous and all the monies raised through the online auction goes to Festival of Trees and are given back to the hospital in the form of grants that fund equipment needs for the hospital. people have the whole week of Thanksgiving to browse and dream about holiday gifts for their loved ones, or themselves.”
 The decades-long event is Weiser Memorial Hospital Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year, raising money for grant requests from hospital departments looking for means to improve services and programs for patients and the community as a whole. 
 Past grants have been awarded to projects like the Weiser Outdoor Community Gym. Located on the southwest corner of Liberty and E. Fourth streets, the free, weather-withstanding outdoor gym provides anyone in the community an opportunity to get a workout in at no cost. 
 It was the brainchild of WMH Community Relations Manager, Kasey Davis.  
 Grants have also funded bassinets for WMH Labor and Delivery, an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) for the hospital’s education department, and, more recently, surgical orthopedic equipment for new orthopedic surgeon, Matthew Elliot, who arrived in Weiser from Washington state on Aug. 1.
 “We have departments that reach out to us throughout the year and tell us they would like a specific type of equipment or training, or to revamp or buy something new for their department,” Burgess said. “They come and present to the foundation board and then the directors vote on, and approve, what grant requests they would like to fund.”
 Last year, the Festival of Trees raised $87,000 that is used to fulfill as many of those grant requests as possible. 
 The goal this year, according to Burgess, is to raise $92,000. Nearly $700,000 has been raised over the decades since the fundraiser’s launch.



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