EDMONTON -- The University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees will welcome back guests to the in-person fundraiser Dec. 2 to 6 at the Edmonton Convention Centre.

Last year, the event was closed to the public due to COVID-19 health restrictions. The fundraiser moved online where people were able to view the trees and bid on silent auction items from home.

“Although moving to a virtual event last year was the right decision, and we saw our community members step up and continue to support us, we know that it was not the same as celebrating the holidays together in person. We are ready to come back safely, and be better than ever,” said President and CEO of the University Hospital Foundation, Dr. Jodi L. Abbott.

The theme for the fundraiser is “Share the Joy” – centred on community, inclusivity, and celebration. Abbott said the theme is about bringing the people of Edmonton together. Following safety guidelines, the Festival of Trees will feature four public events and three special events:The Gala Evening and Auction, Santa’s Breakfast and the Silver Bell Soiree, to support healthcare for Albertans.

Severe kidney disease is on the rise in Alberta, said a statement by the UHF. Money raised at the event will help support the expansion of the West Kidney Care at the U of A hospital. Adding a Home Therapy Clinic, the money raised will create a rental centre in Edmonton.

During a 35-year history, the festival has raised over $22 million for the University of Alberta Hospital, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and Kaye Edmonton Clinic.

“Past support has had a major impact on every area of healthcare provided at the University of Alberta Hospital site, including funding advanced life support equipment and the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, the University of Alberta Hospital’s Stroke Ambulance, and Alzheimer’s disease research,” said Abbott.

Tickets for the event will go on sale in September.