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The Festival of Trees is more than just a Utah tradition — it has become part of the fabric of local life during the holidays during the past four decades.

For many Utahns, the season wouldn't be complete without a trip to oooh and aaaah over the decorated trees, which range from traditional to whimsical to poignant.

Volunteers not only organize and work the event at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, but donate their time and money decorating more than 700 Christmas trees that go on display and are auctioned off for charity.

According to festival organizers, 100 percent of the money raised benefits Primary Children's Medical Center. Last year, the festival raised just over $1.5 million; more than $29.3 million has been raised since the event was launched in 1971.

There's more to the Festival of Trees than just Christmas trees, however. There are an aisle of wreaths, a gingerbread village, holiday centerpieces, table and mantel decorations; and quilts in a variety of patterns, colors, and sizes

The sweet shoppe features a variety of confections, and the traditional hot scones and sweet rolls will be for sale.

For the kids, there is Santa Land, featuring Old St. Nick himself; face painting, bubbles and other activities; a playhouse plaza filled with child-sized dream houses, gazebos, doll houses, and children's furniture; and items priced for a child's budget.

And entertainment is scheduled throughout the day an evening — a stream of local choral and dance groups. —

Festival of Trees

When • Wednesday, Nov. 30 – Saturday, Nov. 3, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Where • South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy

Admission • Tickets available at the door: $5 adults; $4 seniors; $3 children 3-12; free for children 2 and under. Discount tickets ($4 adults/$2.50 children) available at all Zion's Bank locations. Wednesday, Nov. 30 is family day: $15 for up to six immediate family members.