21st annual Festival a success

Justin Crann
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Over $300,000 raised for cardiac equipment

Dr. Volker Rininsland was the emcee of the 21st annual Festival of Trees at the Heritage Inn this Saturday. Rininsland said the fundraising goal was $225,000. The event raised more than $300,000.

The 21st annual Festival of Trees was held at the Heritage Inn Saturday night.

“Festival is a time that the community really comes together and gives from the heart,” said Kelly McElree, executive director of the Moose Jaw Health Foundation (MJHF). “As Telemiracle is for Saskatchewan, Festival of Trees is for Moose Jaw.”

The Festival of Trees is an annual fundraiser for the Moose Jaw medical community that features elaborate Christmas displays designed and set up by businesses and organizations from across the city. 

Also featured is a themed meal, live musical performances, and silent and live auctions.

This year’s iteration of the Festival drew more than 440 people, McElree said. Politicians, medical and military personnel, and ordinary Moose Javians all came out to have a good time.

Guests included MP Ray Boughen (Palliser), MLAs Warren Michelson and Greg Lawrence, Mayor Deb Higgins, Councillor Patrick Boyle, Snowbirds’s Commanding Officer Lt.-Col. Maryse Carmichael, and Brian Martynook, executive director of the Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce.

The fundraising mark this year was $225,000, acording to Dr. Volker Rininsland, who emceed the event. In its 21 years, it has raised more than $2.4 million, with over $1 million of that being raised in the past five.

In total, this year’s Festival raised over $300,000, easily eclipsing the target mark.

More than ten Christmas displays were up for auction at the Festival, which was themed, “A Canadiana Christmas, eh?” and featured music and food inspired by Canadian culture.

“Various small and big businesses really enjoy getting everyone together and creating some phenomenal displays,” said McElree, “I just love how they set it up every year, and the work and the detail they put into it never ceases to amaze me.”

Popular displays included SaskWater’s “A Canadian Winter Wonderland,” the Moose Jaw Businessmen’s Club’s “The Spirits of Christmas,” and “Mason’s Tree,” designed by the Moose Jaw Warriors, Stick It to Cancer and Jodi Oakes of Century 21.

“Mason’s Tree” was the top-grossing display of the night, selling for $35,000 to Nelson Construction.

The funds raised at Festival of Trees typically go toward the purchase of new medical equipment, renovations of existing facilities, and so forth. This year, the funds will be used to purchase new cardiac and stroke equipment, McElree said.

“Everyone who comes to this room, whether they purchase a ticket or bid on an auction item, are all helping to bring (new equipment) to our community,” he said. “The difference is, when we bring (equipment) in, it’s not just the best in Saskatchewan or Canada, it will be the best in North America.”

“That’s because of all of these people who come out and support the Foundation,” he said. “I’ve always said Moose Jaw is really the hidden gem of Canada — there’s so many generous people.”


Organizations: Moose Jaw Health Foundation, Heritage Inn, Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce Century 21 Nelson Construction

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada North America

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