PORT ANGELES — Those who join the virtual Festival of Trees gala this weekend will help raise funds for a machine to increase Olympic Medical Center’s capacity for rapid testing for COVID-19.
Although some 250 had been sold as of Monday, tickets remained available for the annual Olympic Medical Center Foundation gala and auction on Friday.
This year, the fundraiser will help to pay for additional lab equipment to provide another resource of testing for COVID-19 and other illnesses, such as influenza, said Bruce Skinner, executive director of the foundation.
“Coupled with a grant from the First Federal Community Foundation and First Federal, the Biofire system for OMC’s hospital laboratory will increase rapid COVID testing capabilities,” Skinner said in a press release issued Monday.
It’s a fitting destination for funds, given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Clallam County.
Health precautions already had completely changed the way the 30th edition of the festival would be conducted, and then as case numbers climbed last week, more adjustments were made.
The popular Teddy Bear Tea has been canceled. About 100 tickets had been purchased, Skinner said.
Purchasers can donate the money, keep the ticket for next year’s tea or get a refund.
Family Days was canceled last week but has since been reinstated in a virtual version presented free of charge and expected to be online by Saturday, Skinner said.
Members of the public will be able to go to the OMC Foundation Facebook Page to see all the 47 trees and 40 wreaths elaborately decorated for the holidays.
Although the video is offered free, donations for the rapid testing equipment can be made.
The Festival of Trees gala will be presented with most of the usual elements except the pleasure of other people’s company.
Those participating in the festival gala this year won’t need to dress up. The gala meal will be eaten at home. The auction of 47 trees decorated for the holidays and sold with special premiums will be online. Trees will be delivered to buyers Saturday morning by people in face masks and by appointment, Skinner said.
Gala tickets are available at omcf.org. The cost is $105, which includes dinner that will be picked up at The Crabhouse at the Red Lion, 221 N. Lincoln St., in Port Angeles, or at Tedesco’s, 210 W. Washington St., in Sequim.
Various elements of the meals are being prepared at Togas Soup House, Kokopelli Grill and the Crabhouse in Port Angeles; Tedesco’s in Sequim; and 7 Cedars in Blyn. Desert will be a cupcake from That Takes the Cake in Sequim. Each ticket-holder will be offered a choice of wine, champagne or beer.
Purchasers will be given the link to view the virtual show/gala auction and place bids. Ticket holders also will have the opportunity to view the trees in person on a restricted basis. People will be allowed one to two at time (in a household) on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The decorated trees are at Edna’s Place, 1026 E. First St., Port Angeles.
Each decorator was given a private room in four empty buildings owned by Olympic Medical Center and Edna’s Place, Skinner said.
“All precautions were taken,” he said Monday.
Decorating was done over a five-day span that ends today, instead of the usual two days, to keep those working on the trees separated.
The event is presented by The Lodge at Sherwood Village, Fifth Avenue Retirement Center and Sherwood Assisted Living.
For more information, call the foundation office at 360-417-7144.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].