DOVER -- The 22nd annual Union Hospital Auxiliary Christmas Tree Festival is ready to welcome thousands of visitors to the galleries Warther Carvings in Dover.

Nearly 90 decorated and lighted Christmas trees have been provided by community sponsors. The event is open to the public from Saturday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Nov. 22. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except the final Sunday when the Festival closes at 5 p.m. Admission price is $5 for adults while children under 12 are free. Tickets are sold at the door.

In 1993 the Christmas Tree Festival began modestly with 30 trees and about 1,000 visitors. Over the years the Festival has continued to grow, both in the number of sponsored trees and number of visitors. Connie Finton of New Philadelphia, the Auxiliary's project chair, attributes this popularity to the amazing variety of Christmas trees on display and the enthusiasm of people to see them.

"We have tripled the number of sponsored trees that we began with back in 1993," Finton said. "Just when I think we've seen every possible Christmas tree theme or variation the new trees arrive and I'm amazed by the creativity and artistry of the trees filling the Warther galleries." Finton estimates that more than 1,000 Christmas trees have been displayed and sold during the previous 21 events.

The Christmas trees in the Festival are for sale as are many wreaths, holiday arrangements, and the entire lobby display. Finton said after the Festival closes the smaller trees will be available for pickup by the buyer on Nov. 23 and 24 while the larger trees will be delivered to buyers on those days.

Finton said the festival's success is a tribute to the hard work of the members of the Union Hospital Auxiliary, the support of the sponsors, and the thousands of people who come to see the trees and purchase them.

"In addition to the many businesses, organizations, and professionals who sponsor the Christmas trees, we are very grateful to the Huntington Bank which again is our primary corporate sponsor, and our room sponsors which include Dover Hydraulics and WTUZ Radio," Finton said. "The generosity of the Warther family for opening their facility to us for this event is immeasurable."

Some special dates to remember at the Christmas Tree Festival this year include Senior Day on Monday, Nov. 16, sponsored by The Inn at Northwood Village. Seniors over the age of 60 will be admitted at half price to enjoy the trees and refreshments.

The popular Children's Christmas Tree Workshops will be Saturday, Nov. 21 with sessions at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Warther's. Children will decorate their own 18-inch lighted tree to take home for Christmas. The cost is $25 per child. Call the Union Hospital Community Relations office at 330-602-0778 to make reservations. The sponsor of the Workshops is One Main Financial.

Proceeds from the Auxiliary's Christmas Tree Festival are donated to Union Hospital in Dover for the purchase of patient care equipment and facilities.