RIVERSIDE (CNS) – The Yuletide spirit will come alive today at the
Riverside Convention Center, where the 33rd annual “Festival of Trees” will
be held, featuring elaborately adorned firs, benefiting a Riverside County
charity for children.

The event, hosted by the Riverside University Health System
Foundation, transforms the convention center into a virtual Christmas forest,
bedecked with 50 “designer trees” — each sporting its own unique theme —
for visitors to view, touch and photograph.

The fest will be free and open to the public Saturday, from 10 a.m. to
9 p.m. Festival events were also held Friday.

RUHS Foundation Executive Director Nicole Orr told City News Service
the event is expected to generate upwards of $550,000 in donations

This will be the first time the Festival of Trees has been celebrated
in-person at the downtown Riverside location since November 2019. In 2020,
because of the coronavirus public health lockdowns, the fest was all-virtual,
and in 2021, it was outdoors, relocated to Rancho Jurupa Regional park in
Jurupa Valley.

“The Festival of Trees raises awareness and support for crucial work
at Riverside University Health System’s Pediatric Unit, neonatal and pediatric
intensive care units, and the Riverside County Child Abuse and Neglect Unit,”
according to an RUHS Foundation statement.

A variety of activities are planned, catering to visitors of all ages,
with Santa Claus, games and strolls through the trees, which will showcase “winter-themed landscapes, bejeweled ornaments and sparkling lights,” the
foundation said.

Orr estimated the number of fest visitors could reach 10,000 during
the two-day period. The event will coincide with the inaugural weekend of the
30th annual Festival of Lights downtown.

More information is available at https://ruhsfoundation.org/.
Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.