Another Thursday, another episode in the continuing saga of Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”
Tacoma’s Festival of Trees
I love learning about the history, culture, and traditions of my new hometown, Tacoma, WA. Today it’s the Festival of Trees, which I had heard of but never attended before. The event even has its own Facebook page.
Festival of Trees is an annual fund raiser for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital here in Tacoma. The hospital opened in 1955. One of only three pediatric hospitals in Washington, Mary Bridge has been designated by the state as the Level II pediatric trauma center for this region. In 2012 Mary Bridge was named one of the country’s top hospitals by the Leapfrog Group for providing the safest and highest quality care to pediatric patients. Mary Bridge is the only pediatric hospital in the Pacific Northwest and one of only 12 children’s hospitals in the country to receive this recognition.
Mary Bridge Hospital came into being through the efforts of a group of women known as the Tacoma Orthopedic Association, which began in 1921. Recently renamed the Mary Bridge Brigade, the group in 1987 organized the first Festival of Trees to continue raising funds for the hospital. Each year local companies and individuals donate their time, talent, and funds to produce gorgeously decorated holiday trees that are packaged with other significant prizes and auctioned off at a black-tie Gala extravaganza. For those of us whose contributions to the effort must be more modest, there’s a gift shop at the Festival offering holiday merchandise. Purchases benefit the hospital.
But seeing the decorative trees wasn’t the only benefit of attending the festival. Orchestras, bands, and choruses from local schools provided entertainment. When we arrived, an orchestra was just finishing up its presentation. Later, as we sat in the cafe area drinking coffee (husband) and hot chocolate (me), we heard the chorus from St. Patrick’s School perform. The director explained that the kids range in age from nine to fourteen years, with an average age of about ten and three-quarters years. They practice before school, at 7:30 AM, four days a week. And I could not believe the beautiful sound that they produced! They were pitch-perfect, even when they sang in two-part harmony. Having been a choral singer myself in high school, I appreciated what these young kids have accomplished by working hard. Better yet, they seemed to be enjoying what they were doing.
I saw so many beautiful creations that choosing a mere three to share with you here was difficult. The exhibits were set up in a huge room at the downtown convention center. Each was roped off. Taking good photographs was challenging because of the ropes and the people moving around. I chose these three primarily because I was able to get in position to get a reasonably good shot of them.
Click on any photo to see a larger version.
Here’s an article on the Festival of Trees from the local newspaper, The News Tribune: