Challenger School

Put the Festival of Trees on Your Christmas List


Looking for just the right holiday gift? Put the 2016 Festival of Trees at the top of your Christmas list! Held November 30 through December 3 at the South Towne Expo Center, the 46th Annual Festival of Trees will either begin or continue a holiday tradition that guarantees to entertain you, meet your shopping needs, satisfy a sweet tooth, and touch your heart.

This beloved holiday event began 46 years ago to raise funds for Primary Children’s Hospital. Over the years, the Festival of Trees has raised nearly $40 million to further the hospital’s mission of providing the best medical care to children throughout the Intermountain Area. It has become a tradition that inspires individuals, groups, businesses, and families to serve together for an important cause.

Many who volunteer for the Festival of Trees can be traced like a pedigree chart. Take example Lisa Egbert from Herriman, Utah. Lisa became involved because of her sister, Maridean, who knew a woman named Betty, who was a friend of Sharon Hunt, a Festival Executive Board Member serving in the Sweet Shoppe. What began as a four-hour volunteer shift has morphed into a four-day, all-day family affair! Lisa and her sisters, daughters, and sons work in the caramel apple corner of the Sweet Shoppe. They dip between 500-700 apples in caramel and then coat them with sprinkles, chocolate, and toffee chips. In addition, they slice and drizzle caramel over 2,500 apples. Lisa’s son, Joe, also serves as a Tree Doctor, helping decorators with lighting and decorating challenges.

Discount tickets also include a free UTA return ride from South Towne Expo Center.

Year after year Lisa’s family comes together at the Festival of Trees, working shoulder to shoulder for a cause that is dear to them. Lisa’s grandson was a patient at Primary Children’s Hospital. His passing was devastating. Serving others is a way to honor his memory while giving hope to other families whose children face catastrophic illnesses and injuries.

Michael Poe was a patient at Primary Children’s and benefitted from the hospital’s charity care program. For years his grandmother purchased trees and his aunt volunteered in the Festival’s Gift Boutique. Five years ago, his aunt recruited Michael and his mother, Ellen, and they have been pricing gifts and stocking shelves ever since. “I work physically harder the week of Festival than I work all year,” Michael said. “Yet, the time I give feels so satisfying. It’s my way of paying it forward – giving back for help given to me and my family.”

Some of the magic of the Festival of Trees comes from the passionate and dedicated service given by its volunteer Executive Board, composed of 90 women from throughout the state of Utah. Led by Chairwoman Kae Rasmussen, and her Co-chair Shauna Davis, Kelly Petersen, and Brooke Thompson, this volunteer Board is peppered with a familial lineage. After assisting her aunt as a committee member, recent past chairwoman Marie Partridge accepted an assignment on the Board in 2006. She then involved her daughter, Amanda Louder, who has served on the Board since 2013. In all, there are six sisters and a sister-in-law, cousins, and two mother-daughter teams on the Board. In addition, four women volunteer because their mothers once served on the Board.

A similar tradition of family togetherness can be witnessed by those who gather annually to decorate trees. Grandparents, sons and daughters, children and grandchildren put their Festival commitment at the top of their Christmas list.

The Festival of Trees is thought to be the largest in-door display of decorated Christmas trees in the world. In addition, thousands attend each year to see the display of gingerbread creations, centerpieces, quilts, outdoor playhouses, and wreaths, as well as enjoy live entertainment, have pictures taken with Santa Claus, visit Kids Korner (activities especially for children), feast on hot scones and sweet rolls and shop the Gift Boutique and Sweet Shoppe. The event is orchestrated and staffed by volunteers. With little exception, everything is donated so that every penny collected can be donated to Primary Children’s Hospital.

The Festival of Trees is open to the public 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., November 30 through December 3, 2016. Free parking is available on-site at 9575 South State Street and evenings and all day Saturday at Worker’s Comp and I-Contacts. Patrons can also park at Jordan Commons for $5.00.

Tickets are $6.00 for adults; $3.00 for children ages 2-11; $5.00 for Senior Citizens (65 and older). An $18.00 Family Day ticket, admitting up to six immediate family members, is good for Wednesday only. Discount tickets are available at most branches of Zions Bank: $5.00 for adults; $2.50 for children. Discount tickets also include a free UTA return ride from South Towne Expo Center. (Must show Festival ticket stub and UTA ticket voucher.)

Opening Night and silent auction is Tuesday, November 29 and is by invitations only. Tickets for that semi-formal evening are $40.00 admitting two adults. Purchase Opening Night Tickets by calling 801-662-5957.

One hundred percent of funds raised by the Festival of Trees benefits children cared for at Primary Children’s Hospital. As the only full-service children’s hospital in the Intermountain West, Primary Children’s Hospital offers cutting-edge treatment in over 60 subspecialties, from cancer to cardiology, and neurosurgery to orthopedics. The hospital’s 289 beds hold the most critically ill and injured children throughout a five-state area who require the most sophisticated medical care. In 2015, the hospital expended more than $11.6 million to cover 13,520 hospital visits by children in need.

Give “A Gift of Love” to children at Primary Children’s Hospital and put the 2016 Festival of Trees at the top of your Christmas list! For more information, visit

Dates and Times

Wednesday, November 30 through Saturday, December 3, 2016
10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day


South Towne Expo Center
9575 South State Street
Sandy, Utah


At the Door

Adults  –  $6.00
Children (2-11)  –  $3.00
Under 2  –  Free
Senior Citizens (65 and Over)  –  $5.00

Credit card purchases are only accepted at the North and South ticket offices of the South Towne Expo Center. Cash and checks are accepted at all entrances.

Family Day Ticket

The Family Day Ticket admits up to six immediate family members for $18.00 on Wednesday, November 30.

Discount Tickets

Discount tickets are available at most Zions Bank branches for the following tickets:

Adults   –  $5.00
Children (2-11)  –  $2.50

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