The Saint Alphonsus Festival of Trees is one of the Treasure Valley’s most enduring holiday traditions. This is the 31st year of this celebration of all things Christmas. It’s open to the public from Wednesday through Sunday.
St. Al’s spokesman Josh Schlaich says 20,000 to 30,000 thousand people visit each year.
“It really is a generational thing,” Schlaich says. “We see grandparents, that have been coming for years, come with their grandchildren. We see great grandchildren. ”
Schlaich says some people who came as children, now bring their own children. He adds some of the festival volunteers have been working behind the scenes all three decades.
He says more than a thousand volunteers provide entertainment and run the festival’s day to day operations as well as do all the decorating. That includes putting up the more than 80 unique Christmas trees that give the festival its name.
“I would venture to say this is one of the biggest all-volunteer events in Idaho,” Schlaich says. “And it’s really amazing how the community collaborates, comes together to put this on.”
The festival is a fundraiser for St. Al’s that has brought in more than $8 million since 1984. Each year it benefits a different program at the hospital. Schlaich says this year proceeds go toward the cardiovascular operating room.
“Commonly referred to as the CVOR,” he says. “So it’s actually an expansion to three operating rooms. But in addition to that it’s kind of a refresh of the basics, to be able to do an increase in volume of our cardiovascular surgeries.”
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