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Holiday gift: 31st annual Festival of Trees begins Tuesday

Holiday gift: 31st annual Festival of Trees begins Tuesday

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CEDAR FALLS – Although this year’s 31st annual Festival of Trees artwork, “Peace on Earth,” appears to be quilted, it’s actually paper craft by artist Dianne Peterson. The Cedar Falls watercolorist and collage paper artist has transformed an everyday material into a colorful piece of holiday art.

It’s an appropriate artistic, crafty artwork for this year’s festival, beginning Tuesday and continuing through Sunday at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, presented by Friends of MercyOne Cedar Falls. A new event, HoliDIY Craft Night, is joining the list of festival favorites that includes the glittering Gallery of Trees.

“The Festival of Trees is a holiday tradition that people love, but we’re always looking at new ways to entice people to come down and see what it’s all about,” Jorgensen said. “The event is a gift to the Cedar Valley.”

Viewing the nearly 30 trees in the Gallery of Trees and displays of wreaths, table settings and creches is free. A wine tree and memory tree also will be displayed. Gallery hours are noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday (closed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a private event); 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Sunday.

Festival activities begin with Festival Night from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and costs $20 per person.

The annual Holiday Brunch is 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, and includes a program. Cost is $17 per person. The HoliDIY Craft Night also takes place Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the GBPAC lobby. Participants can learn how to make a holiday floral arrangement that can transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas with experts from Petersen & Tietz, or how to decorate hand towels with a kitchen or holiday theme with Fig & Frolic.

The event is $20 with a $30 materials fee for each project; or register for the holiday kitchen towels and floral arrangement for $80. Space is limited to the first 50 reservations. Wine and cheese will be available.

On Thursday, the annual Veterans’ Holiday Breakfast and Program takes place in the lobby from 9 to 11 a.m. Cost is $5 per person. Games in the Trees follows from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $50 per table; reservations are accepted as tables of four. Desserts and beverages will be served. Participants are asked to bring their favorite game and necessary materials, such as scoring pads, board games or dice.

Friday’s “Let Your Light Shine” Fashion Show & Luncheon is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost is $40 per person. Holiday fashions will be modeled from Oh So In Boutique and Palace Clothiers, both in Waterloo. A three-course luncheon will be prepared by University of Northern Iowa chefs.

Treats and baked goods will be available at Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen Bake Sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Santa’s Workshop is from 10 a.m. to noon and is free for children ages 3 to 10 accompanied by an adult. Children can create Christmas crafts and other holiday items as gifts or decorations. Santa and Mrs. Claus will read from holiday books.

The ever-popular Teddy Bear Tea is next Sunday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the University of Northern Iowa Commons Slife Ballroom. Cost is $10 per child under 8 and $15 per adult. Snacks will be served, and each child will take home a teddy bear. Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit and the Dean of Juggling will perform.

Each year, the festival raises funds to provide services or new equipment at the hospital. The Friends organization, formerly Sartori Hospital Auxiliary, has gifted the medical center over $1.8 million in proceeds from the Festival of Trees in 30 years, Jorgensen said.

“The goal this year is $50,000, which ultimately benefits the community,” she explained.

This year’s proceeds will help support the MercyOne Cedar Falls Foundation’s annual campaign, “Encircling Those We Serve with — Safe, Secure, Stable and Accurate Technological Enhancements,” including the purchase of an Ergo Elite C-Arm for the radiology team and two FERNO Power X1 stretchers for ambulance crews.

For additional information and to register for events, visit www.MercyOne.org/festivaloftrees, or call 268-3161.

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