Winter Wonderland hits the South Shore today as Barton Health’s Festival of Trees and Lights opens in the Convention Center at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa.
More than 200 volunteers have been busy decorating for the annual event, which runs through Sunday and raises money for Barton Memorial Hospital.
Fifteen designer trees as well as trees decorated by local schoolchildren and festival sponsors will be twinkling with more than 30,000 lights, according to the Barton Foundation.
Janette Reed-Lawson of the Widowed Person’s Association of California was stringing some ribbon on her group’s tree, which features various scenes from the Nutcracker, on Tuesday.
“It’s our first year. We’re hoping we get invited back next year because we already have our inspiration,” Reed-Lawson said.
Back for a third festival, Ardith Cimino and Tracy Ruger were putting the finishing touches on South Tahoe Refuse’s tree, “Jewel of the Sierra.”
The company’s tree took best of show in the 4-foot tree division last year, but their pair is hoping to help raise more money for the hospital this year as the trees are auctioned off.
“It’s for a good cause and our company supports it, so we get to have all the fun of coming out and doing it,” Ruger said.
The event promises to have something for everyone as a family-friendly way to get in the holiday spirit and help raise money for Barton Memorial Hospital, said Kindle Craig, executive director of the Barton Foundation.
The festival will open with a “Senior Stroll” from 2-4 p.m. today and a Light up a Life memorial ceremony from 6-7 p.m.
Public viewings run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A stage at the convention center will be bustling with local singers, dance troupes and magic shows through the weekend.
Performances of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” presented by the Tahoe Tallac Association are set for 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and for 2 p.m. Sunday.
Children can get their pictures taken with Santa Claus, learn about their health and hospitals at the Teddy Bear Hospital and work on crafts projects at Gingerbread Junction.
Family Night is 5-9 p.m. Friday and there’s a Teddy Bear Brunch at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
“There’s something for all ages, from seniors to children. There’s the play this year, a gift shop, raffles, auctions, entertainment — it’s just fun,” Craig said.
The event is the Barton Foundation’s largest annual fundraiser. Festival proceeds help improve Barton Memorial Hospital. Last year’s Festival of Trees and Lights raised $54,000 to help expand the capabilities of the hospital’s trauma center. This year’s festival will raise money to help expand its cardiology department, run by Dr. David Young.
For more information, visit http://www.festivaloftreeslaketahoe.org.