In 2021, the Festival of Trees was excited to launch a new addition to the lineup of events and experiences: Santa’s Little Guests. This program, possible only through the generosity of several business sponsors and the many supporters and donors to the Festival of Trees, brought holiday joy into some of the schools of greatest need here in Edmonton. 

Sponsors of Santa’s Little Guests supported a community initiative and a critically important cause 

Presented by Cameron Development Corporation, Santa’s Little Guests connected local businesses and individuals with the opportunity to sponsor a school of greatest need in Edmonton. Stahl Peterbilt, the Franceschini Family Fund, JK Mackenzie, George and Margaret Squire and Betty Howden stepped up to sponsor local schools to become recipients of the program.  

“Several sponsors loved the program so much; they chose to sponsor multiple schools to help us reach a total of 10 scheduled school visits,” said Kevin Radomski, Director of Experience and Signature Events at the University Hospital Foundation (UHF). “The pride of our partners in this program was very evident. They all wanted to help make the season celebration special for these children.” 

Our Festival team worked directly with the Edmonton school district to select five Catholic and five public schools across Edmonton. Once ten schools were selected, the Festival of Trees brought Santa and his elf to each school as a special holiday surprise for the entire classroom.   

Children were treated to some delicious treats and story time with Santa to learn how the holidays are celebrated from all over the world. These special visits won’t soon be forgotten by kids or the UHF alike, and it’s all thanks to the incredible sponsors who stepped up to fund Santa’s Little Guests and support end-stage kidney disease in Alberta through the Festival of Trees.  

“Visiting these schools was like witnessing magic,” said Radomski. “It was so special to see the pride of the children and education leaders on full display. The children’s smiles lit up the room. It was a joyous interaction for everyone. The feeling of unity and celebration helped remind us all of the true community spirit of the season.” 

What started as a small spark of ideas on one more way to give back to the community and share the joy with more people after a challenging two years in a pandemic, quickly turned into a humbling and successful experience for our organization, Festival of Trees staff and volunteers, sponsors, and most importantly, the children at the 10 schools our team visited.  

Festival of Trees brings the community together 

Since 1985, the Festival of Trees has been Edmonton’s signature holiday event and has raised over $23 million for critical causes at the University of Alberta Hospital site, including the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the Kaye Edmonton Clinic, and throughout the community.  

In recent years, the event has expanded throughout the city to offer more fun for more Edmontonians. As a result, the University Hospital Foundation continues to strive for greater impact by celebrating the season with people of all ages and cultures, and giving back to areas and people in the community who need it the most. 

Give back at the 2022 Festival of Trees 

If you would like to get involved and support the University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees, click here for more details. 

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