Vicky Berg, left, and Janet Hatala tour through the dazzling array of decorated trees during last year’s Ponoka Festival of Trees. This year’s festival, starting with the opening gala and live auction on Nov. 14 and running through Nov. 17, has been expanded, with more events being held at the Stagecoach Saloon at the Stampede Grounds. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Discover how to celebrate Christmas early in Ponoka!

Tickets on sale for an expanded Ponoka Festival of Trees, coming to the Stagecoach Saloon Nov. 14-17

Some changes are coming to your favourite pre-Christmas family event and fundraiser!

The annual Ponoka Festival of Trees, the glittering celebration and fantastic fundraiser that gets you in the Christmas spirit ahead of the hustle and bustle of the season, is bigger than ever.

Tickets are now on sale for the Nov. 14 to 17 festival, when the Stagecoach Saloon at the Stampede Grounds comes alive with a full range of activities. From the decorated trees themselves to special fundraiser nights and of course, the Snow Much Fun Family Day on Nov. 16, it’s all in support of the Ponoka and District Health Foundation’s campaign to raise funds for a centralized cardiac monitoring system for Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre.

“This year the Foundation took on the festival as its own,” says Festival of Trees co-ordinator Charlotte Winters. “Our mandate is to support the entire population of Ponoka and for 2019, we’ve got a broader scope of events that appeal to a wider range of people.”

Here’s a rundown of what’s coming up at the Saloon:

  • Thursday, Nov. 14 Get dressed up and join in for the opening gala dinner and live auction fundraiser. This staple of the festival definitely kicks things off in style. Sponsored by Eagle Builders and VJV Auction Co. Ltd.
  • Friday, Nov. 15 (daytime) Celebrating Ponoka’s elders, the Seniors Candy Cane Coffee is a great chance to come and relax with a cup of java, visit with old friends and maybe make some new ones! Sponsored by Ponoka County
  • Nov. 15 (evening) The inaugural Little Black Dress party is a ladies-only event where you can sip wine, nibble on appetizers and listen to entertainment. Have some fun and do a little networking at the same time. Sponsored by Co-Operators and Battle River Insurance
  • Saturday, Nov. 16 (daytime) The popular breakfast and photos with Santa remain – the cost has been lowered – and you can now enjoy a full day of activities, with Santa and Mrs. Claus on hand throughout. There’s a cookie decoration station, crafts, dancing and photos with characters from Disney’s Frozen, and event a petting zoo! Sponsored by Town of Ponoka
  • Nov. 16 (evening) Craft beer fans will love Beef ‘n’ Beer at the Saloon, with beef on a bun, beers and a live band helping keep the energy level high. Sponsored by Rowland Parker and Associates
  • Sunday, Nov. 17 (daytime) Sensitive Santa allows families with children who require a quieter environment to enjoy a relaxed visit with Santa, and without the larger lineups of the main family event. Sponsored by Ponoka FCSS

The expanded festival is largely a result of having more sponsors come on board, including title sponsor Calanah Builders Ltd., and “we’re excited to see Ponoka’s response,” Winters says.

As with all Foundation fundraisers, 100 per cent of the money stays within Ponoka and District. For more information on the Festival, visit ponokafestivaloftrees.ca and follow them on Facebook. If you can’t make it to the festival but want to donate, visit ponokahealthfoundation.com and click on Donate Now.

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The annual Ponoka Festival of Trees is now being overseen and organized by the Ponoka and District Health Foundation.

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