Festival of Trees to shine brightly at SEAPARC

More than a dozen decorated trees will line the main foyer in celebration of Christmas.

SEAPARC Leisure Complex will get a lot brighter and colourful Friday (Dec. 4) with the launching of this year’s Festival of Trees.

More than a dozen decorated trees will line the main foyer in celebration of Christmas.

A fundraiser of B.C. Children’s Hospital, the idea is to have companies and families pay $250 and sponsor a tree, after which it gets set up and decorated at the donors’ discretion in any theme they prefer. In turn, donation envelopes are made available and the public can put in a cash donation and vote for their favorite tree.

Last year, SEAPARC raised $1,700.

Running into its seventh year of the festival, SEAPARC is changing it up a bit and focusing more on the giving goodness of the Sooke community, as a lack of sponsorship of trees this year has left the forest a little scarce.

“This year it’s a bit different, as some of the trees are being donated to non-profits, so our tree sponsorship portion won’t be as much, but we’re hoping to do more of a drive on the donation end of it,” said SEAPARC programmer Elizabeth Olsen.

SEAPARC’s event is a satellite of the same type of tree festival held every year at the Empress in downtown Victoria, with different divisions including Sooke, Port Alberni and Nanaimo.

The drop-in tree sponsorship however, is more dire up Island.

“Unfortunately, Port Alberni has folded this year due to a lack of interest, and just a really hard time getting the festival going there,” Olsen said.

“Nanaimo experienced similar problems as well as we have, whereas before, the tree sponsorship hasn’t been that difficult for us to obtain. This year, it just seems like it’s a little bit of a different route.”

Olsen said in Sooke alone, more than 200 families use the services of B.C. Children’s Hospital, which is part of why Sooke has been such a popular destination for a satellite festival of trees.

“There has been so much need lately in Sooke with different fundraisers for kids and families that we know here in the community,” she said, adding that due to the changes in sponsorships, the festival may take on a whole other face next year.

 

“It may just look a bit different next year, it maybe needs to be revitalized a little bit.”