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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

UF Health festival to raise $50,000 for children’s hospital

More than two dozen Christmas trees and wreaths will be auctioned off to raise $50,000 for children’s health care over the next three days.

UF Health will hold its third annual Festival of Trees today through Saturday at the Tioga Town Center, located at 105 SW 128th St. The trees and wreaths will be sold through a silent auction, which will benefit the Children’s Miracle Network at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.

The money will go toward pediatric research, programs to help children, their families, equipment and renovations, said Lindsay Ritenbaugh, a development associate for UF’s CMNH division and the event coordinator.

The festival will start today at 7 p.m., where this year’s spotlight tree, decorated by pediatric patients in the hospital’s Arts and Medicine program, will be auctioned. The showcase will be Friday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Ritenbaugh said she expects more than 1,000 people.

“We are looking forward to a great event,” Ritenbaugh said.

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department decorated a tree with environmental protection messages and a wreath with fire hydrants and notes, encouraging people to clean up after their dogs.

Emily Rodriguez, a senior environmental specialist at the department, said it has sponsored the festival since it started.

“Basically, it’s a creative way to reach our target audiences with our environmental protection,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a lot of fun for us.”

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