Approaching festive season marked by trees

Sooke Festival of Trees will continue to be held at SEAPARC

A tree decorated for the 2012 Festival of Trees at SEAPARC.

A tree decorated for the 2012 Festival of Trees at SEAPARC.

While it’s not quite as regally renowned as the event at Victoria’s Empress Hotel, Sooke’s Festival of Trees is an equally significant marker that the festive season has begun.

Besides marking the certainty of Christmas, the Festival of Trees is also a great way to give back to the community. All the funds raised by this event go towards the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. To put it into perspective, event coordinator Elizabeth Olsen, said last year alone there were 209 children from Sooke who required the services from the BC Children’s Hospital. The year before that, in 2011, 199 children from Sooke utilized their services.

This year, the Festival of Trees has 15 trees available for sponsorship, and Olsen said they are already nearing the halfway mark with sponsors. With that in mind, anyone who is interested in sponsoring a tree, now is probably a good time. The deadline for sponsoring a tree is November 15, and the trees will be on display from November 28 to January 3.

Last year, Sooke raised just over $3,000; this year, the aspiration is to achieve closer to $5,000. Funds are raised through the sponsorship from each tree as well as the votes received. People can vote for their favourite tree. To vote, they are given a ballot envelope, they check off their favourite tree, and they include a donation.

Organizations as well as individuals can sponsor a tree for $250.

If you haven’t seen it, Olsen recommends you see the tree for Kevin Seeburger. It is an all-Lego tree, and is sponsored each year by his family. Kevin, born on Sept 30, 1993, died of Leukemia on November 9, 2005. This is one way the family can both honour his memory and tell their story of the important role that the BC Children’s Hospital played.

As noted in their sponsorship flyer, “In its 5th year, the Sooke Festival of Trees will feature up to 15 trees so call today so you don’t miss the opportunity to participate in this remarkable event!”

To sponsor a tree, contact Elizabeth Olsen, Chair, Sooke Community for Kids BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. She can be reached by phone at 250-642-8007, or by email at sookefestivaloftrees@gmail.com.

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