Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert is looking for businesses and community members to help start a new holiday tradition.
The Festival of Trees is planned for Nov. 16-19, and will feature 80 decorated trees from 6 to 12 feet tall that will be auctioned as part of a holiday event and fundraiser for the nonprofit medical center.
“We need more community traditions. We wanted to create something families could participate in,” said Cynthia Dunham, a former Gilbert mayor and a hospital volunteer helping to put together the event.
Businesses, families or other groups interested in sponsoring a tree must contact the hospital by Oct. 19.
Paddock Pools and Spas is donating the artificial trees to be decorated.
Dunham said the idea sprang from a few successful events nationwide, some of which raise millions of dollars for nonprofit groups by selling extravagant trees. In other events, trees are decorated with bottles of wine or ornaments created by classroom children.
The theme of the event is “An Arizona Christmas,” said hospital spokeswoman Susan Gordon.
She said the hospital will also have a float with a Santa Claus in the coming Gilbert Days parade.
An Arizona Christmas
What: Festival of Trees
When: Nov. 16-19. The event begins with a silent auction and gala Nov. 16. Santa will visit Saturday and Monday.
Cost: Tickets are $150 per person or $1,200 per table of eight. Unsold trees remain for sale through Nov. 19, during which time student groups will perform for a $5 fee for residents. Children younger than 5 admitted free.
Where: Banner Gateway Medical Center, 1900 N. Higley Road, just off U.S. 60