Festival of Trees

About Festival

Each year, the Festival adopts a different holiday theme and hundreds of talented A photo from the Festival of Treeslocal designers transform the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds into a winter wonderland of ornate trees, wreaths and displays.

The nine-day event features more than 200 trees and wreaths decorated with exquisite care by area designers; a centerpiece and gingerbread structure silent auction; an elaborate hand-crafted Gingerbread Village; the Candy Cane Express train; the Little Elves' Workshop craft area; Snapshots with Santa; a boutique full of unique gift items; hand-decorated gingerbread cookies; and entertainment featuring dozens of musical performances.

We look forward to seeing you at the 27th annual Festival of Trees. The Festival will be open Saturday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are free. On Senior Day, admission is $3 for adults 65 years old and older.

Memorial's Festival of Trees Schedule & Santa's Schedule*

Saturday, November 19
Festival 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Santa 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Sunday, November 20
Festival 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Santa 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Memorial Health System (MHS) Employee Appreciation Day
Free admission for MHS employees with badge. MMC Employee of the Year Presentation at 2 p.m.

Monday, November 21
Festival 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Santa 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Tuesday, November 22
Festival 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Santa 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Senior Day
$3 admission for adults 65 and older (this day only)

Wednesday, November 23
Festival 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Santa 5 - 8 p.m.

Thursday, November 24
Festival 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Santa 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Thanksgiving

Friday, November 25
Festival 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Santa 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Saturday, November 26
Festival 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Santa 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Sunday, November 27
Festival 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Santa 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

*Remember, throughout Santa's time at the Festival, he needs to take breaks to feed the reindeer. It does not take too long and then he will be back to talk to all the good little girls and boys. 

Print 9-Day Schedule

Festival of Trees Frequently Asked Questions

More information is available on the Festival of Trees on MemorialsFestivalofTrees.com or by calling Amanda Johnson, event manager with the Memorial Medical Center Foundation, in December at 217-788-3293.

General Information

What is the purpose of the Festival of Trees? The Festival of Trees is a fundraiser of the Memorial Medical Center Foundation to raise money for health-related projects and programs throughout Memorial Health System and other not-for-profit organizations in central Illinois. During the past 26 years, the Festival has raised more than $4.2 million.

What are the hours of the Festival? The Festival of Trees is Saturday, Nov. 19 – Sunday, Nov. 27. We are open daily from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. except on Thanksgiving (4 p.m. – 8 p.m.) and on Sundays (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

Can I go to my vehicle and come back without paying admission? Yes, but you must have your hand stamped before you leave the building. How many people visit the Festival? More than 35,000 people visit the Festival each year.

Where are the restrooms? On the other side of the holiday kitchen, northeast corner of the building.

Is there a water fountain? Yes, between the women’s and men’s restrooms in the northeast corner of the building.

Are wheelchairs available? Yes, on a first-come, first-served basis. Ask a volunteer at the east or west entrance for assistance.

Are strollers available? No, we do not provide strollers for our guests.

Are dogs allowed at the Festival? Only service animals are allowed at the Festival. “Service animals” are defined by the ISAAA as a dog or miniature horse trained or being trained as a hearing animal, a guide animal, an assistance animal, a seizure alert animal, a mobility animal, a psychiatric service animal, an autism service animal, or an animal trained for any other physical, mental, or intellectual disability. Volunteers may ask if the animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special identification cards for the service animal or ask about the individual’s disability.

Is there a lost and found? Yes, any items turned in or found at the Festival remain in a box located in the Volunteer Area, at the north end of the building. These items are kept until the end of the Festival. After the Festival, people can call the Memorial Medical Center Foundation at 217-788-4700 to ask if an item was found.

Where is People’s Choice information? People’s Choice voting information is located at both entrances and at the Information Desk. Ballots should be turned in at the Information Desk or at either entrance. Visitors can also vote on the laptop at the Information Desk.

Where can I get a copy of the scavenger hunt? The scavenger hunt list is available at the Information booth and at Little Elves’ Workshop.

Where is the nearest ATM located? An ATM is located at the east entrance of the Orr Building. The side of the building where the Gingerbread Cookie Bakery and Gingerbread Village are located.

Special Days

Sunday, Nov. 20 is Memorial Health System Employee Appreciation Day: Memorial Health System employees get in free with their ID badge. Memorial Medical Center’s Employee of the Year is announced on the Entertainment Stage at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 22 is Senior Day: Adults 65 and older receive a reduced $3 admission.

Items for Sale at the Festival

How many decorated items are there? 13 showcases, 98 7’ trees, 20 4’ trees and 52 wreaths.

How can I purchase a tree or wreath? Most of the 7-foot trees, 4-foot trees and wreaths are selected by our sponsors. Ask a volunteer at the Information Desk if any trees or wreaths are available for purchase. All purchases must be processed by Amanda Johnson or Elena Kezelis.

What is the cost of the trees and wreaths that are for sale? Wreath: $75, 4-foot tree: $125, 7-foot tree: $200. We will deliver 7-foot within 25 miles of the Orr Building at no charge. Four-foot trees and wreaths can be picked up Sunday, Nov. 27 between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. or Monday, Nov. 28 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Orr Building. All purchases must be processed by Amanda Johnson or Elena Kezelis.

How do I become a sponsor? Sponsors are solicited during the summer before the Festival. For more information, go to the Sponsor page on MemorialsFestivalofTrees.com or pick up a sponsor brochure at the Information Desk. You can also call the Foundation at 217-788-4700 for additional information.

What happens to the Mini Trees (table top trees by the children’s area) after the Festival? Some classes or scout troops keep their tree after the Festival and others are donated to area nursing and retirement homes.

Volunteer Information

Who does all the planning for the event?  The Festival of Trees committee which is comprised of nearly 50 volunteer committee members who begin planning in January. 

How do I become a volunteer?  You can sign up to volunteer at MemorialsFestivalofTrees.com.

Designers

Who decorates the trees? Trees are decorated by individuals, organizations and companies.

How can I become a designer? Anyone can be a designer. Here is a breakdown of the opportunities:

  • Showcase, tree and wreath - designed by adults
  • Centerpiece - designed by adults
  • Gingerbread Village  structure - designed by children and adults
  • Student Trees - designed by junior high and high school classes
  • Mini Trees - designed by elementary and preschool classes and scout troops

The trees and wreaths are provided by the Festival and designers provide all the decorations. For more information, go to the Design page on MemorialsFestivalofTrees.com or pick up a designer brochure at the Information Desk.

How do we find out who won the People’s Choice awards? The designer who wins will be contacted and their ribbon will be mailed to them. You can also check MemorialsFestivalofTrees.com after the Festival for a complete listing of awards. The State Journal-Register will also print a list of the winners.

How is the theme chosen each year? The Festival of Trees Chair chooses the theme. It is usually announced in February.

Entertainment

Where is a schedule of performances? A daily schedule is posted at each entrance and near the Entertainment Stage. The Information Desk has the nine-day schedule or visit the Festival Attractions page on MemorialsFestivalofTrees.com.

Where do entertainers change their clothes? A curtained area is available near the west entrance.

Do parents and/or chaperones of performers get free admission? No, only performers and the group’s leader/director receive free admission to the Festival.

Children's Activities

Where is the children’s craft area known as Little Elves’ Workshop? In the southeast corner of the building near the train station.

What crafts are available? A list is available outside of Little Elves’ Workshop and in the Festival of Trees Program.

  • Holiday Slap Bracelet: $1
  • Gingerbread Doorknob Hanger: $1.50
  • Light Bulb Necklace: $1.50
  • Reindeer Ornament: $1.50
  • Color Your Own Holiday Mug: $2
  • Handprint Pot Holder $3.50

When will Santa be at the Festival? His schedule is listed in the Festival of Trees Program.

Saturday, Nov. 19: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 20: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 21: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 22: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 23: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 24: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 25: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 26: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 27: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Gingerbread Cookies

Where are the gingerbread cookies from? Jubelt’s (pronounced yewbelts) Bakery in Litchfield.  They baked 15,500 hand-cut cookies and delivered them to the Festival. The cookies are hand decorated at the Festival by volunteers. A list of allergens and ingredients is posted in the bakery and on MemorialsFestivalofTrees.com (Festival Attractions page).

Can I decorate my own gingerbread cookie? Yes, you may ice your own cookie. Just ask when you buy your cookie.

How can I contact Jubelt’s: Jubelt’s phone number is 217-324-5314.