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SALT LAKE CITY -- For the past 40 years, the Festival of Trees has used its tinsel and twinkle lights to benefit Primary Children's Hospital.
Assisted by thousands of volunteers, the festival's doors opened Wednesday. Each year, 850 committee members recruit roughly 30,000 volunteers to work at the event. These volunteers set up and keep the 240,000 square feet of festival space at the South Towne Expo Center -the building's available display space.
"We are at capacity. It can't grow much more than it has already because there is no more space," said Marie Partridge, Festival of Trees Co-Chairwoman.
Those people are in charges of recruiting people to make the trees, as well as wreaths, gingerbread houses and other crafts.
"That number would include all of the people that it takes to make all of the items as well as it takes hundreds every day just to fill the shifts to run the festival," Partridge said.
According to Partridge, workers and volunteers make crafts for the festival year-round. She says the donation of volunteer's time makes it possible for them to donate 100 percent of the money raised to Primary Children's Medical Center.
The festival has grown over the years based on the needs of the hospital and the desire of the community to help. Making a tree and donating it can be a healing experience for people who have been affected by the care they got at PCMC, Partridge said.
This year the festival has nearly 700 trees on display, compared to the 60 trees they displayed at their first festival in 1971, which raised $48,000. In 2010, they raised $1.5 million for Primary Children's Medical Center.