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Uniontown Hospital Festival of Trees open through Dec. 4

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 3:45 p.m.
MARILYN FORBES I FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Uniontown Hospital Festival of Trees coordinator Joyce Hutchinson stands at the front of the long line of trees available at the event.

An impressive display of color, décor and imagination fill the lobby area of Uniontown Hospital as the facility celebrates its annual Festival of Trees through Dec. 4.

The event is a longstanding tradition and is sponsored by the Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary, who then donate the proceeds toward nursing scholarships offered through Penn State Fayette The Eberly Campus.

“We are up to four scholarships now,” said Amy Flasher, supervisor of community relations and volunteer services. “Education is expensive, and we like to help some of the students who are pursing that profession.”

This year's festival features 14 decorated trees that carry themes such as birds, dogs, angels and candy or are covered with gift cards.

Local businesses, as well as departments and units within the hospital, take part in decorating the trees.

“We supply the trees, and they decorate them,” event coordinator Joyce Hutchinson said. “They decorate them however they like.”

In addition to the trees themselves, several include gift items around the base of the tree that are part of the donations from those who sponsored the trees.

“When you win the tree, you win everything under it, too, which is really nice,” Hutchinson said.

Tickets to win the trees are on sale for $2 each from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily in the lobby. The winners will be drawn at noon Dec. 4.

“We have a lot of people who come that day for the drawing,” said Flasher, adding that wassail and cookies will be served to add to the festive occasion. “We also have a lot of people who wait until that day to get their chances on the trees.”

Flasher said that while the event is the biggest one for the auxiliary, the group of volunteers works hard throughout the year with numerous fundraising events, and all the proceeds are then given to the hospital.

“This group has been wonderful over the years,” Flasher said. “They have donated $500,000 over the years to the capital campaign. They are very active and very appreciated.”

The event has become highly anticipated as people from the hospital and community alike look forward to the fundraiser, which combines the love of the holiday with the desire to help students who are reaching for their future.

“Every year I hear from a few of the students that we helped,” Hutchinson said of the scholarship recipients. “They say how much they appreciated what we did to help them. They come and they donate as a way to continue this and to help other students. It's really nice.”

There also will be a book and craft sale Dec. 5 and 6 in the hospital. Proceeds go to the auxiliary.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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