Festival of Trees rings in holidays with elaborately decorated Hollywood-themed trees

One of Pierce County’s longest-running and lucrative charity events is back in person this year with a Hollywood theme.

Festival of Trees brings 20 decorated Christmas trees to the Tacoma Armory for two events culminating in an auction Saturday night.

Now in its 36th year, the event has raised more than $40 million to benefit Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.

This year’s theme is “The Best Is Yet to Come,” which is an ode to 1950s Hollywood, according to Alicia Chapman, executive director of the Mary Bridge Children’s Foundation. The foundation co-organizes the event with the Mary Bridge Brigade.

“It really starts with our designers and volunteers that help create this magic environment,” Chapman said Wednesday. “It’s really a great way to kick off the holidays.”

The festival is famous for its elaborately decorated trees, which can pull in thousands of dollars per tree.

“We have some that truly took the Hollywood theme to heart,” Chapman said.

Also back this year is Friday night’s Tinsel on the Town. That event is sold out, but seats were still available for Saturday’s gala as of Wednesday afternoon.

Both events can be attended virtually, free of charge. Virtual attendees can participate in the online silent auction of mini trees and wreaths.

Tree decorator Tammy Hall directs Trixy Dorn of Tacoma on the positioning of ornaments atop their tree named “Starry Night” during decorating day at the Mary Bridge Children’s Festival of Trees on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at the Tacoma Armory in Tacoma.
Tree decorator Tammy Hall directs Trixy Dorn of Tacoma on the positioning of ornaments atop their tree named “Starry Night” during decorating day at the Mary Bridge Children’s Festival of Trees on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at the Tacoma Armory in Tacoma.

Public trees

Three trees that will not be auctioned are on display in the lobby of Tacoma General Hospital and at Mary Bridge in the Baker Center and health center. Naming rights will auctioned, but the trees stay put through the holidays.

The money raised by Tinsel on the Town improves access to medical care and services for children in addition to programs like the no-cost Bridges Center for Grieving Children.

The Festival of Trees gala benefits the expansion of care at Mary Bridge.

Mary Bridge Children’s serves more than 300,000 children each year. More than half of the families served are low-income.

Tammy Hall (left) and Kimberly Golob (right) put the finishing touches on their respective trees during decorating day at the Mary Bridge Children’s Festival of Trees on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at the Tacoma Armory in Tacoma.
Tammy Hall (left) and Kimberly Golob (right) put the finishing touches on their respective trees during decorating day at the Mary Bridge Children’s Festival of Trees on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at the Tacoma Armory in Tacoma.

Festival of Trees gala

What: Four-course dinner, hosted bar, live auction decorated holiday trees and after-party entertainment.

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 6 p.m.

Where: Tacoma Armory, 1001 S Yakima Ave., Tacoma.

Tickets: $350 per person; no charge to tune-in virtually.

Information: multicare.org/festival/