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Success Story Record Crowds Turn Out For Coeur D’Alene Festival Of Trees

Organizers of the popular Festival of Trees are crediting good weather as one of the reasons for a record turnout.

“I think’s it’s partially due to the weather,” said Konni Leichner, festival director. “But I think as the reputation of the festival has grown, we’ve just gotten bigger crowds. It went beautifully all weekend.”

Leichner said ticket sellers have not tallied the numbers, but she estimated as many as 5,000 people viewed the 40 elaborately decorated trees on Sunday - Family Day.

The popular gala fund-raising event, where the trees are sold, seated 630 people Saturday night, and the fashion show Monday had a turnout of 481.

“We had about 500 people at the Senior Social and we planned for 375,” said Leichner.

Leichner said the total amount raised for the Kootenai Medical Center Foundation still is unknown. But events the previous eight years have raised a total of $608,000.

This year’s proceeds will be used to help purchase fetal monitoring equipment for the hospital’s obstetrics unit and to provide two “compassionate care” suites for family use in the transitional care center.

More than 500 volunteers helped stage the festival.

Some spent Monday afternoon bagging the trees in plastic and delivering them to their purchasers. All the decorations must be wired to the branches and remain on the trees in transit.

Leichner said she is pleased with the turnout but is looking forward to next year.

“Next year’s our 10th (anniversary), so we’re going to try and do something special,” she said. “I don’t know what yet, but we’ll think of something.”

Tree judging results

Winning trees at the Kootenai Medical Center Foundation’s Festival of Trees were:

Best of Theme: “Heavenly Harmony,” sponsored by the Kootenai Medical Center Employee Communications Committee.

Judges’ Choice: “Santa’s Gone Fishing,” sponsored by Northwest Outfitters-Orvis.

Spirit of Christmas Award: “Heavenly Lights Shine Upon Us,” sponsored by Louisiana-Pacific. Spirit of Christmas - Honorable Mention: “The Jungle Sings Tonight,” sponsored by First Security Bank.

Spirit of Christmas - Honorable Mention: “Christmas in the Garden,” sponsored by Marie’s Boutique and Cougar Bay Trading Co.

People’s Choice: “A Christmas Symphony,”sponsored by Centennial Distributing Inc.

Gala Award: “Santa’s Gone Fishing,” sponsored by Northwest Outfitters-Orvis.

Children’s Fantasy Award: “Christmas in Pooh Corner,” sponsored by Target.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Color Photos