Blank Children's Hospital is proud to announce the 40th Annual Festival of Trees & Lights will be at the Iowa Events Center – Veterans Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. The annual event is the largest fundraiser for Blank Children's Hospital and is a central Iowa tradition to kick off the holiday season. The 40th Annual Festival of Trees & Lights will feature beautifully decorated trees, special performances from local music and dance groups, visits with Santa, a scavenger hunt, fun crafts and activities, and the chance to be inspired by impactful stories of children cared for at Blank Children's. In addition, visitors can shop the Holiday Gift Shop for gifts and more.
About Festival of Trees & Lights
- Dates: Friday, November 24 to Sunday, November 26, 2023
- Friday, November 24 - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Saturday, November 25 - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Sunday, November 26 - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Location: Iowa Events Center, Veterans Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at 833 5th Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309
- Tickets: Tickets are available on site or you can get your tickets online. Tickets are $5 per person, 2 and younger are free.
- Parking: Parking is available in the Convention Center parking lots for a fee. Parking is also available on the streets (free on the weekend) or in near-by city parking garages.
- Contact: 515-241-6304 or email@example.com
- Why: Festival of Trees & Lights provides support to two critical services at Blank Children's Hospital: Child Life and the Center for Advocacy & Outreach. Child Life meets each patient where they are, making them feel safe and comfortable. Specialty trained team members help patients understand what's going on with age-appropriate language to help them through their hospital visit. The work of the Center for Advocacy & Outreach keeps children out of the hospital through educational programs and services that promote safety and injury prevention. Both Child Life and the Center for Advocacy & Outreach programs are made possible by support from the community, including this event.
This annual event is the largest fundraiser for Blank Children's Hospital and is a Central Iowa tradition to kick off the holiday season. The 40th Annual Festival of Trees & Lights will feature beautifully decorated trees, special performances from local music and dance groups, visits with Santa, a scavenger hunt, fun crafts and activities, and the chance to be inspired by impactful stories of children cared for at Blank Children's. In addition, visitors can shop the Holiday Gift Shop for gifts and more.
Your attendance means you are supporting valuable programs at Blank Children's Hospital. Programs that would not be possible without the generous support of our community.
What Festival Supports
For decades, Festival of Trees & Lights has supported valuable programs and services at Blank Children's Hospital. In more recent years, Festival has supported the Child Life program and the Center for Advocacy & Outreach at Blank Children's. Both the programs are provided to patients, families and community members at little to no cost, and no one is ever turned away for any reason. That is why community support of Festival is so important. Festival revenue helps ensure these important services are available to all children, including the nearly 50 percent of young patients who are either uninsured or under-insured.
About Child Life
Child Life Specialists are specially-trained to work with children to help reduce the stress and anxiety that many experience in hospital and health care settings. They also explain procedures in terms that children, no matter what their age, can understand. The Child Life team helps children in the clinics, emergency room, surgery and radiology as well as in the hospital. The Child Life program has grown over the years and that expansion would not have happened without the generous support from Festival.
About Center for Advocacy & Outreach
While the Child Life team helps children throughout their health care journey, the Center for Advocacy & Outreach's goal is to keep children out of the hospital. They create programs that promote safety and injury prevention, provide education on healthy living, partner with other medical organizations across the state for neonatal, pediatric and obstetric education with their staff, advocate on behalf of children and families with our legislative officials - along with many other programs. They are a state-wide resource by taking Blank Children's beyond the hospital walls.
In 1984 the Festival of Trees & Lights made its debut in Des Moines, and since that time families and friends of all ages have eagerly awaited this fun-filled event to kick-off the holiday season. With beautifully decorated trees, a fun-filled children's area, food, entertainment and special events, Festival has become a central Iowa tradition.
In its 40-year history, the Festival has provided more than $13 million in financial support for Child Life, the Center for Advocacy & Outreach and other special programs and projects to serve the unique needs of children and their families.
Festival is a volunteer supported event. Hundreds of volunteers give of their time and talents each year.
Sensory Day at Festival of Trees & Lights
Sponsored by: Principal
Date: Wednesday, November 22
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Community Choice Convention Center, 833 5th Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309
Tickets: If you would like to attend, cost is $5 per individual ages 3 and older - 2 and younger are free. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door.
About: Sensory Day is a special day is designed for sensory sensitive individuals of all ages. The event is open to the public for individuals and their immediate families who would benefit from this specially modified Festival day. Festival of Trees & Lights is a fundraiser for Blank Children's Hospital, supporting programs and services for patients and families. For questions about the event, please email DM_BCHFestival@unitypoint.org, or call 515-241-6838.
If this is your first time to Festival, here’s what you can expect:
- 75 beautifully decorated 7 ft. trees displayed across the Ballroom.
- Children’s area with crafts and activities. Punch cards are available for purchase to participate in the activities.
- Festival Express Train for children 70 pounds and less.
- Sock Skating Rink for children to “skate” in their socks.
- Food area that offers snacks, chips, drinks (water and soda), popcorn, and fresh baked cookies.
- People’s Choice voting for your favorite tree.
- Scavenger Hunt among the trees and participants earn a prize.
- Festival Gift Shop with a wide variety of holiday gifts, toys and décor.
Modifications made specifically for Sensory Day include:
- Festival Express Train will operate, however, the train bell will be disabled to reduce noise.
- No entertainment performing on the large stage in the Ballroom to help reduce noise.
- Lights will be dimmed and flashing lights (on trees) will be minimized as much as possible.
- Attendance will be greatly reduced.
- Calming room will be available if needed by attendees.
- Sock Skating Rink will be limited to very small groups, or individually if needed, to meet the unique needs of attendees.
- Santa will be available for children and families in a secluded area – out of sight for attendees.
- Music Therapist will provide special area for musical activities based on attendees’ interests.
Decorators help bring Festival to life! Your unique and festive designs provide the magic for the holiday season. Decorating options are closed for this year with the exception of the Tree Farm. Please call the Foundation Office at 515-241-6403 with any questions.
Festival Tree Farm Decorator - Decorate a 4 1/2 ft. pre-lit artificial tree provided by Festival. You provide the decorations, tree skirt and at least $250 worth of items or gift cards in addition to the decorated tree. The tree will be displayed on the Festival website and the community will be invited to bid on your tree in an online silent auction. This is a great way to showcase a business, organization, or yourself. The highest bidder at 12 p.m. on Sunday, November 26 will "win" the tree. Review the Tree Farm information card for specific details.
People's Choice Winners 2022
Become a Sponsor of Festival
Make your sponsorship gift online. If you would like to pay with a check, please mail to 1415 Woodland Avenue, Suite E-200, Des Moines, IA 50309.
If you wish to decorate and keep your tree, the Decorator Plus package is available at $1,500 sponsorship or more. To sign up for Decorator Plus, please select your giving level and check the Decorator Plus box on this year's Festival sponsorship form.
Ways to Get Involved
Your participation in this year's Festival of Trees & Lights matters. It's a special event where generosity, good will, and joy unite for the greatest cause of all: children. Know your support of Festival makes a difference.
Your gift to the 40th Festival of Trees & Lights makes so much possible. At Blank Children’s, you are providing incredible support for two special programs: Child Life and the Center for Advocacy & Outreach. Thanks to your support, these programs will continue to help and comfort children like Sage throughout the state of Iowa.
We invite you to help us celebrate by showcasing your talents at Festival of Trees & Lights. Dance groups from all over Central Iowa come and perform. We can’t wait to see you on the Festival stage! Click below to register and you will be asked to select up to your top three performance time preferences.
Festival of Trees & Lights is only possible because of the support from hundreds of volunteers giving of their time and talents. We welcome volunteers to help with our children’s activities, concessions, admissions, gift shop and more! Volunteers 15 and younger need to be accompanied by an adult.