Festival of Trees sparkles in third decade
Video by [Blake Helmken / Mail Tribune]
The 30-year-old Providence Festival of Trees opened for public viewing Saturday at the Medford Armory with an abundance of creatively designed trees, all encircling an audience and a stage graced by ballerinas from toddlers to teens.
Paty Emrick brought her daughter Nikki as a surprise in return for a surprise, the smiling pair explained in matching red sweaters.
“She was out of town for Thanksgiving, so we didn’t decorate right after Thanksgiving together like we normally would,” Nikki Emrick said.
“She went and decorated everything for me,” Paty Emrick said. “I came home and it was all plaid — red and black with plaid. Big ribbons on the tree, and it wasn’t just the tree — pillows, a new throw blanket. I fell asleep looking at it. She covered me with the new throw.”
In return for her daughter’s kindness, Emrick drove them over to the annual Festival of Trees fundraiser to see the variety of imaginative trees. Both listed a camping-themed tree as a favorite.
“Welcome to Camp” by Kendra McMillan was a small tree with a big personality, crowned at its top by a miniature tent. A framed letter in front of the tree dedicated it to the memory of Phil Olsen — a registered nurse responsible for the creation of the Providence Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.
Near the stage, Noemi Thornton waited with Genesis, her 8-year-old daughter. Genesis would soon join her fellow ballerinas in a series of performances starring the pupils of Miss Diana’s School of Ballet, a mainstay of the Providence Festival of Trees.
“This is my first time at this event, but I did used to go to one in Grants Pass. Christmas is nice, it just brings everyone together, you know? Not just families but the whole community,” she said.
Genesis swayed and smiled shyly in her golden tulle skirt, but when asked she declared she was not nervous to join her friends and classmates on stage.
“It’s every little girl’s dream,” Noemi said as she looked on her daughter with a proud smile.
Erika Bury, artistic director for Miss Diana’s School of Ballet, choreographs and designs the costumes for the studio’s 300 students.
“Today, we’re going to have our younger girls doing a selection of holiday songs, just fun Christmas music and our older girls doing some selections from The Nutcracker. We have a sugar plum fairy today, we have a marzipan, there’s some of everything,” she said.
Over the past 30 years, Providence Festival of Trees has raised more than $11 million to benefit the programs and services of Providence Medford Medical Center. Public viewing of the trees continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway, Medford.
For ticket information and more details, see foundation.providence.org/oregon/southernoregon/events/festival-of-trees
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at email@example.com or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.