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SANDY — Twinkling trees will greet visitors once again this month at one of Utah’s biggest charity events.
The Festival of Trees, a tradition that began 41 years ago with a display of 60 trees, will open to the public Wednesday with more than 700 trees decorated and donated by individuals, families, church groups and community organizations.
The festival benefits Primary Children's Medical Center with proceeds for those who need charity care at the hospital. One of this year's trees was created in honor of 4-year-old Tyson Juber.
"We started three years ago," said Kimberly Weeks, Tyson's aunt. "We came through and I said, 'I want to do a tree for Tyson.' We kind of got the bug."
When Tyson was only 8 hours old, he started having seizures. An MRI showed an enlarged brain; and when medication couldn't stop the seizures, he had surgery to remove or disconnect half of his brain.
Four years later, he's surpassed everyone's expectations. He's walking and talking: success his parents, Nate and Brandi Juber, credit largely to Primary Children's Medical Center.
"I think we just felt like we were there with family and people that really cared about us," Nate Juber said.
And at an event where so many trees stand in memory of children who aren't here this Christmas, the Jubers feel beyond blessed Tyson is here to enjoy his magical tree tribute.
More than $29.3 million has been raised through the festival since 1971, with $1.5 million raised in 2010.
The trees will be sold through an invitation-only silent auction Tuesday night. Any tree not sold will be available for purchase during the festival itself.
Last year more than 95,000 people visited the festival to see displays of imaginatively decorated Christmas trees, wreathes, centerpieces, gingerbread creations, backyard playhouses and quilts, the festival news release states.
This year's festival will run through Saturday, Dec. 3, at the South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State Street in Sandy, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Tickets are $5 for adults; $4 for seniors; and $3 children age 11 and under. Children younger than 2 years of age are free. Discount tickets are available at Zions Bank locations for $4 for adults and $2.50 for children.
Wednesday, Nov. 30 is "Family Day," where six immediate family members are admitted for $15.00. For more information visit www.festivaloftreesutah.org.
Written with contributions from Brooke Walker and the ksl.com news team.