SEASIDE — Innovation was the focus of the 20th annual Safeway Providence Festival of Trees at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center.
With a goal of raising $175,000, donors at silent and live auctions tallied almost $196,000.
The money will support programs at Providence Seaside Hospital.
“Our focus for tonight is to celebrate the last 20 years and look to the future and the need to grow and expand our services,” said Kimberly Ward, executive director of the hospital’s foundation. “This fund will allow us to focus on greater, more strategic projects. The first priority will be to help patients who use our emergency services.”
Providence Seaside Hospital Foundation Chairman Gregg Freedman described it as “the most successful gala ever.”
Saturday ranged from Christmas stocking caps to black tie.
For the more than 1,000 visitors to Candy Cane Lane at the convention center, the event offered not only an opportunity to support the region’s medical services, but a chance to dally awhile with Santa and peruse 30 donated Christmas trees and displays decorated by local businesses, designers, florists and North Coast residents.
A line of children waited on the mezzanine level for their audience with Santa.
Warrenton’s Adalyn Saysongdeth, 8, had no doubt what she would ask for — a Hatchable, an egg with birds inside, she explained.
Adalyn’s brother Brody, 5, and friend Dominic Dow each had their eyes on Nintendo Switches.
A wine tree from the Seaside Chamber of Commerce presented 60 bottles alongside the tree.
An entry from the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce honored founder Tom Drumheller, chief executive officer of Escape Lodging and co-owner of Tom’s Fish & Chips, who died earlier this year.
The tree memorialized one of Drumheller’s favorite slogans. “He used to always say, ‘It’ll be fun,’” Drumheller’s longtime friend and business partner Patrick Nofield said. “That was one of his hallmarks.”
Cannon Beach resident David Frei, just back in town from the National Dog Show, was accompanied by Angel, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and Grace, a Brittany, to publicize the therapy dog program at the hospital.
The program, initiated by Frei and his wife, Cherilyn, now has 10 teams visiting the hospital.
“Dogs help patients manage whatever challenge they may be having,” he said. “It gets them to smile, to talk. It brings them back to home a little bit.”
With auction of the tree came a trip to Beverly Hills and a meeting with Frei and show host John O’Hurley.
The sold-out gala hosted 330 guests from as far as San Francisco, with 16 live auction items. It was a night to see and be seen, all for a good cause.
“This is the premier social event of the year,” convention center General Manager Russ Vandenberg said. “The community supports all the things the hospital does for us.”
Freedman said that means moving into the 21st century of medicine — proactive as opposed to reactive.
“Right now, medicine is reactive in responding to someone in an emergency, whatever that might be,” Freedman said. “We need it to be more preventative so that people don’t need those services. The ultimate goal of the foundation and Providence Seaside is to improve our community and make it a healthier place to live for all of us.”