Going to the Festival of Trees (FOT) has become a holiday tradition for many families including mine. Walking into a room that is filled with thousands of twinkling lights, creative themed trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses, center pieces and quilts can put anyone in the holiday spirit. With the FOT going virtual for the second year and not getting to feel the amazement of that room one will have to remember that although it is amazing to be at the Festival, it is the stories behind the festival that put everyone in the holiday spirit.
One of those amazing stories is that of Patti Evershed Peterson, a Las Vegas resident that was diagnosed with the rare cancer subdermal melanoma in 2017. While on her trips to Salt Lake for treatment she decided she wanted to give back to the community that was providing her, her treatment. While looking at the app Just Serve she started making pillowcases for the Elf Emporium boutique because she stated “I could sew in a straight line.” Her ability to sew in a straight line turned into so much more she has gotten so many of her friends, neighbors, and family involved, donating items and time to the FOT. This year Patti’s niece designed and her brother built a new Elf Emporium boutique, for all to love for years to come. While talking with Patti she said “it is only news worthy because I’m dying” the story is amazing without the knowledge that Patti was unsure if she was going to make it to see The Festival of Trees, but knowing a person looked for a way to serve during a time where she had every reason to just focus on herself is not only newsworthy but more importantly heartwarming.
There are stories of love, hope, and honoring those lost, throughout the Festival of Trees. The Festival of Trees brings us a boy losing his best friend that he played legos with after school and him with his family now making an amazing tree filled with ornaments made of legos to honor his friend. A tree honoring a woman who recently passed away of SMA (a form of muscular dystrophy) that while living lost the use of her arms and legs but found a way to still do art. And whoever, is lucky enough to take her tree, Fleece Novi Dog, home you will receive also some Christmas cards with her art.
So many of the stories and why people volunteer goes back to the gratitude they have for Primary Children’s Hospital. Primary Children’s Hospital is the why for the festival. So even if we can’t be at the FOT in person the stories are still there. To see the trees, quilts, wreaths, gingerbread houses, and read some of the stories go to FestivalofTreesUtah.org