They say good things come in small packages, but the 34th annual Holiday Tree Festival presented by the volunteers of Akron Children’s Hospital proves otherwise. This much anticipated holiday tradition comes unwrapped, lit up and on display Nov. 21-29 at the John S. Knight Center in Akron, bringing joy to many and thousands in donations to the hospital.
“The Holiday Tree Festival actually came to be because hospital volunteers wanted to give the community a gift,” said Mary Leuca, president of this year’s Holiday Tree Festival. “We’re so fortunate to live in such a giving community. Our gift has turned into a way for many to give back.
The gift of the Holiday Tree Festival is one that takes thousands of hours, hundreds of volunteers and dozens of decorators to bring it to life. “It always amazes me how everyone comes together to make the festival so wonderful – from the volunteers and decorators to the delivery teams,” added Leuca.
Since its inception, the festival has more than doubled the number of trees on display and still no two are ever alike. The creativity and themes of the trees offer something new for visitors to see each year. And this year doesn’t disappoint.
There are nearly 150 trees, 71 wreaths and dozens of seasonal ribbons, scenes and miniature trees on display. The aisles of the venue are decked with trees that portray personality, flair and inspiration. There are red, white, pink and green trees, some made of PVC pipe and others with recycled materials. The decorations range in size, material and subject matter including candy, snowmen, hand-made ornaments and beautiful silk flowers that takes holiday joy to a whole new level.
While the festival has grown in size over the years, the reason for the festival has gone unchanged. The tree festival is truly a gift. The payout is immeasurable – the joy it brings to the thousands who visit, the fulfillment it brings to the decorators and volunteers and the lasting impression its fundraising brings to the patients and families of Akron Children’s Hospital.
Admission to the festival has always been free and still is today. Festival hours are Monday – Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thanksgiving, 2 to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.