Supported by generosity and caring hearts of local people in the spirit of Christmas, well over $50,000 was raised for equipment for Stettler Hospital and Care Centre during the 13th annual Festival of Lights from Nov. 23 to 27 at Stettler Community Hall.
“We definitely raised more funds than we did last year,” said Karin Phibbs, who chairs the event committee under Stettler Health Services Foundation that hosts the annual event.
A final figure will be confirmed in the next three weeks, she noted.
This year, funds were designated to purchase palliative care beds and overhead lifts for continuing care at Stettler Hospital and Care Centre.
For a cost of $15,000 to $20,000 for each bed, the Wilfort family of Stettler donated funds for one bed in memory of their late uncle Paul Wilfort.
“That just made our day,” said Phibbs.
With the economic downturn replaced by an upswing, support and attendance was up significantly from last year.
“More people are knowing about the foundation and that the funds stay in the community,” said Phibbs.
“We had many people tell us that this was the first time they attended any of the events for the Festival of Lights.”
Over the last 13 years, the Festival of Lights has raised over $300,000, she said.
Crowds flocked the festivities during the events with 250 at the Gala Night on Saturday with a live auction.
Sounds of the Season concert Thursday night drew 285 people who were entertained with music by the Gracenotes, junior choir, Jeff Lee with Wayne Carstairs and The Jazz Guys along with dramatic readings by Roe Desrosiers, and excerpts of Anne of Green Gables presented by Wildcat Theatre of William E. Hay Composite High School of Stettler.
Sharing the Season seniors’ tea on Wednesday afternoon attracted 200 people who heard Christmas Music by students of Christ King Catholic School and Heartland Belles Red Hat ladies.
Just over 600 people attended Kids’ Day with Santa Claus on Friday.
“We always have tremendous support from the community and businesses,” said Phibbs.
Over 300 volunteers also served in various roles to make the festival and popular and prosperous event.