‘Festival Of Trees’ Returns To Downtown Riverside

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Seasonal & Holidays

The event raises awareness for RUHS’s pediatric unit; neonatal/pediatric intensive care units; and the county’s child abuse/neglect unit.

CNS | Contributed

The Yuletide spirit will come alive later this week at the Riverside Convention Center, where the 34th annual “Festival of Trees” will be held for a two-day celebration featuring elaborately adorned firs, benefiting a Riverside County charity for children.

The event, hosted by the Riverside University Health System Foundation, transforms the center into a virtual Christmas forest, bedecked with 50 “designer trees” — each sporting its own unique theme — for visitors to view, touch and photograph.

The fest will be free and open to the public on Friday, Nov. 24, and Saturday, Nov. 25. The hours both days are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. “Supporting the cause, and the fact that this event helps the (Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley), is what keeps me coming back to decorate each year,” fest volunteer Tammie Blackmore, who has been a tree decorator since 1989, said. “This is truly a labor of love because many of these trees have more than 700 pieces of decoration, all of which are tied on by hand.”

Roughly 300 volunteers return each season to position and decorate each of the nearly eight-foot-tall trees. The Festival of Trees reverted to in-person celebrations at the downtown Riverside location last year. In 2020, because of the COVID lockdowns, the fest was all-virtual, and in 2021, it was outdoors, relocated to Rancho Jurupa Regional park in Jurupa Valley. “The Festival of Trees raises awareness and support for crucial work at Riverside University Health System’s Pediatric Unit, neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, and the Riverside County Child Abuse and Neglect Unit,” according to an RUHS Foundation statement.

A variety of activities are planned, catering to visitors of all ages as they stroll around the trees, which will showcase a variety of themes, the RUHS Foundation said. “The beloved event offers free family fun, including … a holiday marketplace, performances and opportunities to see Santa,” according to the foundation.

Officials estimated the number of fest visitors could reach 10,000 during the two-day period. The event will coincide with the first week of the 31st annual Festival of Lights downtown.

More information is available at https://ruhsfoundation.org/.

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