Festival of Trees – “A Christmas to Remember”
on Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Here in Iowa, the winter nights are long and impossibly dark. That’s why, when driving past the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center at night, it’s so pleasing to see the distinctive “Prismatic Pyramids” glittering from the lobby’s windowed walls. On November 15-20, however, there will be even more light and cheer flooding the lobby of GBPAC.
Each winter, GBPAC is temporarily transformed by the Friends of Sartori Memorial Hospital, volunteers committed to doing good so others can be well. They fundraise for improvements to the hospital, staff the information desk, and help out wherever they can throughout the year. As the holiday season approaches, so does their annual Festival of Trees, which has raised over $1.6 million for the hospital in its 27 years.
The theme of this year’s festival is “A Christmas to Remember,” and the sights of the Gallery of Trees and Wreaths are certain to be both beautiful and memorable. Christmas trees and wreaths will be displayed throughout the festival, and the public is welcome to come and look during the public hours, free of charge, beginning November 16. While you look, local musicians will be playing throughout the festival to spread cheer. There will also be a bake sale, silent auction, raffle, and the Wine Tree, which offers over a hundred bottles of wine available to win by purchasing a raffle ticket.
Tuesday, November 15 will feature “Festival at Night,” an evening event for ages 21 and older. A new event at Festival of Trees, this exclusive after-hours party will feature drinks, appetizers, and entertainment. As night looms dark outside the GBPAC, come for a dose of levity and cheer at this kick-off event.
The Christmas Card Brunch & Program, a special event placed within the Gallery of Trees, treats guests to a special program with a delicious brunch on Wednesday morning, November 16.
Come to “Games in the Trees” at 12:30pm on Thursday, November 17 and challenge your friends to beat you in cribbage, hearts, pinochle, or what-have-you while enjoying coffee, dessert, and snacks—as well as the Gallery of Trees.
The Tea & Fashions Amongst the Trees event will be on Friday, November 18, at 2pm. This always-popular fashion show put on by local clothiers will be located in the GBPAC lobby and include a three-course tea prepared by UNI chefs.
This year’s festival will also include the traditional “Teddy Bear Tea” in the Slife Ballroom of the UNI Commons on November 20. Each child at the tea will receive a special teddy bear from Santa. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
One event that’s making its second appearance at Festival of Trees is the Red Sleigh Event on Sunday, November 13. It’s an afternoon when children on the autism spectrum or children with sensory sensitivity are invited to come see the trees, have a one-on-one meeting with Santa, and do a craft project in a low-stress environment. Students from UNI will be helping facilitate this event, which happens outside of the Festival of Trees public hours in the GBPAC lobby. Each child will leave with their own Teddy Bear and holiday treat bag. Event is free, but participants will need to register.
And all of this just scratches the surface! There will also be a Santa’s Workshop for the kids, Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen Bake Sale and a brunch honoring Iowa’s veterans and their families.
REGISTRATION is required for all the events except Santa’s Workshop, Mrs. Claus’ Bake Sale and the Gallery of Trees (during pulic hours). For more information or to volunteer your time and talents, visit Festival of Trees. There’s a page to register for events and a festival hotline if you have special needs (316-268-3161).
Come to the Friends of Sartori Festival of Trees to bring some holiday cheer and light into your November!
As always, if you’d like more information about Things to Do, Places to Eat & Drink or a Place to Stay, we invite you to contact the Cedar Falls Visitor Center at 319-268-4266 (800-845-1955. We’re open 7 days a week at 6510 Hudson Road.
Guest post by Hannah Carr-Murphy
- brunch iowa's veterans
- christmas card brunch
- christmas lights
- christmas trees
- festival at night
- festival of trees
- gallagher bluedorn performing arts center
- gallery of trees
- games in the trees
- holiday gift market
- mrs. claus bake sale
- red sleigh event
- santa's workshop
- sartori hospital
- tea & fashions
- teddy bear tea