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A Week in the Life: Setting up the 2022 Festival of Trees Gala

11.22.22 | 9:30 am

On an unseasonably balmy Tuesday morning one walked, two drove, and one got lost looking for Hall D from the parking lot (not to name names, but her job title rhymes with grounder) as a week of set-up began for the 2022 Festival of Trees Gala!

Walking into an empty Hall D with its massive windows and generally overwhelming hugeness was quite the sight. It felt daunting that in just a few short days this space was going to be filled to the brim with tables and chairs, delightful decor, gorgeous trees, and more than 700 guests dressed to the nines all to support the University Hospital Foundation.

Day one of set up was filled with meetings, final logistical decisions, light testing, and lots and lots of sticker removal!

11.23.22 | 9:00 am

Day two started off strong with a cedar sprig pick up from the lovely Best Buds Flower Company. A cookie was even given along with the sprigs - thanks Best Buds!

More meetings ensued while sticker residue was melted away and tables, chairs, trees and trusses were fitted with Northern Lights themed pizzazz while last minute errands were run to get everything needed for the remaining days of setup.

String was chopped, and centerpieces were finessed as coffee was flowing and nemeses were identified (looking at you, chair ties and steamers).

6:30 pm

After hours of work, we hit a small snag: our original plan for the chair ties wasn’t going to work - the sides of the chairs were too slick for the silkiness of the ties. With some quick thinking, a new design was established and chaos was avoided.

Kind of - every single chair tie steamed thus far had to be steamed all over again. Oof! However, with some cheery music and copious amounts of caffeine, we marched on as a team and kept up a positive attitude anyway.

8:30 pm

More time passed and the room was beginning to come together - eek! Production World had the lighting in place and the videos ready to roll. The Festival of Trees volunteers had much of the festive trees and decor out and artfully arranged, the tables were set by the fantastic staff of the Edmonton Convention Centre, and many of our chair ties were out securely fastened! It was time to rest up and get ready for day three: Gala Day.

11.24.22 | 8:00 am | Gala Day

First thing on our minds: coffee. Thank goodness for the coffee provided by the ECC or else we may have withered away. Half of the chairs' ties were steamed, and about half were still to go.

We started where we left off the night prior and continued on steaming, tying, decorating, and setting out centerpieces (thanks to Abbas with for the incredibly unique pieces)!

Meanwhile sound check was about to begin and our fantastic host, Ashley Callingbull was up first! After we gave her a tour of the space she hopped up on stage to commence sound check.

Shortly after soundcheck began, an exciting delivery arrived - our additional centerpieces from Best Buds - we were drooling over them - exactly what we were hoping for! We couldn’t wait to put them on the tables to pull together our exact vision.

To be honest, we all felt a little bit emotional at this point. One thing we absolutely love about what we do is seeing our vision and months of planning come to fruition. It’s a feeling like no other and a reminder of how grateful we are to be doing work that we love!

1:30 pm

Next to take the stage for soundcheck were the amazing Jivin’ Bells, who broke in all three stages and practiced for their exciting planted performance to wow the guests. Hearing them sing really made gala day seem real and our excitement ramped up for the evening to come!

3:30 pm

Steaming *finally* concluded and more than 700 chair ties were fixed to chairs with a beautiful sprig of cedar *chef’s kiss.* Did we high-five after the last tie was secured? You bet we did! Next, lanterns and tea-lights went out and all our table decor was where it was meant to be. We couldn’t wait to see the room when the sun was down and everything was aglow with the Northern Lights majesty that was planned.

James Jones (Notorious Cree) took the stage for his sound check followed by Medgine, Tea G. and Sangea. By this point, you could probably have guessed that we were feverish with excitement and ready to roll.

4:00 pm

It was finally dim enough to see nearly all the lighting in action and together with Production World, we adjusted the room lighting to perfection. A final walkthrough commenced to check that all chairs had ties and springs, all centerpieces were out and in the right place, all sponsorship flags were in their homes, and all the lights were nestled

in their holders and ready to be lit by ourselves and the ECC crew!

5:00 pm

It was nearly Gala time and all the lights - and trust us (there were SO many) were lit up. Showtime was about to begin and it was time to change for the black tie affair.

6:00 pm

The time had finally come - the 2022 University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees Gala was officially underway!

The night was a glorious blur filled with warm conversation, laughter, show stopping performances, and lots and lots of holiday cheer! We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to work on such an amazing event and are grateful to all of our amazing clients for believing in us!

The next night was Soiree night - but that’s a tale for another time ;)

If you like hearing about our event planning process like this, let us know! We’d love to hear your feedback.

Until next year, friends!

String was chopped, and centerpieces were finessed as coffee was flowing and


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