Utah’s Festival of Trees returns, in a virtual format for the second year running

Organizers hope to top the $1.2 million raised last year for Primary Children’s Hospital.

(Intermountain Healthcare) Ornately decorated Christmas trees fill Sandy's Mountain America Expo Center for the 51st annual Festival of Trees, a fund-raiser for Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital. The festival will be accessible only online, for the second year in a row, because of concerns over COVID-19.

Festival of Trees, the annual Utah celebration that tests how much stuff can hang on one tree, is back for its 51st year — and, for the second year in a row, it will be an online-only experience.

The event — a fundraiser for Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital — runs virtually starting Tuesday, Nov. 30, through Saturday, Dec. 4, at FestivalofTreesUtah.org.

More than 350 ornately decorated and themed trees, donated by volunteers, will be on display online — and available to buy, via silent auction, through Dec. 2. The silent auction also will sell around 75 wreaths, quilts, playhouses, gingerbread houses, centerpieces and collectibles — all volunteer-made.

The festival also sells other quilts, wreaths and additional seasonal items — and 1,500 pounds of fudge in various flavors — on the website between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4.

Last year, the festival’s online presentation raised $1.2 million for Primary Children’s Hospital. Organizers hope to exceed that level this year.

This year, the trees will be set up at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy, but the public will not be allowed in to see them in person, because of continued concerns over COVID-19. Last year, the festival took over the floor of Vivint Smart Home Arena, which was available because the Utah Jazz had not yet started their pandemic-shortened season.