Festival of Trees gala

Guests at a previous Festival of Trees gala enjoy dinner and wine.

Hemlocks, pines, firs – take a drive through the Coast Range Mountains and get acquainted with lush evergreen trees. Or if bringing trees indoors is more your style, head to Seaside.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this season, the Festival of Trees, organized by Providence Seaside Hospital in partnership with Safeway, is a holiday wonderland with Northwest greenery front-and-center Saturday.

And the holiday spirit of giving will fill the air. At the event, guests have the chance to contribute to a new cardiac rehabilitation center on the North Coast while bidding on stunning, handcrafted Christmas trees and gift packages.

“We are thrilled to be back for the Festival of Trees,” Kimberly Ward, executive director of the hospital, said. “It’s a time-honored tradition. It’s extremely well-loved by our community.”

This year’s theme for the event is “The Greatest Gift.” A full day of holiday fun is planned at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center, split between a family-friendly Candy Cane Lane festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a gala later in the evening.

In the morning, find cookie decorating, story time with Mrs. Claus and photos with Santa, all free events on the schedule for the festival. Once Candy Cane Lane wraps up, doors for the gala will open at 5 p.m. Gala tickets are $150 per person.

“We open the doors with a beautiful champagne reception,” Ward said. Dinner and a silent auction will commence at 7 p.m.

Christmas tree at Seaside festival

A tree up for auction at a previous festival.

This year, 18 live auction items are up for bidding, including the event’s 17 featured trees – each paired with a gift package. Packages feature trips (to Mexico or New York City, to name a few), experiences and gifts under the tree, including gift certificates to Northwest businesses.

And the trees? Those are sourced from local donors, who develop a theme before designing the tree themselves. A design team from Providence also provides assistance.

Meticulous thought goes into each tree, Ward said, and teams come up with all sorts of themes and designs to make each one unique. One of the trees this year is a 6-foot-tall driftwood tree.

“People get extremely creative,” Ward said, recalling one year the festival had a “beer tree.”

The 18th item is a signature piece of art commissioned by a local artist. It features a scene painted with pelicans flying over the ocean at night. “It’s stunning,” Ward said.

The festival will raise funds for a new cardiac rehabilitation center, part of a larger hospital project. The center, along with a health and wellness program, will be housed in Warrenton.

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