501 Life Magazine | Tribute Tree lighting on Nov. 29
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Tribute Tree lighting on Nov. 29

Choir music, selfies with Santa and his elvish helpers, a gingerbread house decorating contest, hot chocolate and special treats for the kids will be a part of this year’s family-oriented Conway Regional Tribute Tree lighting event on Thursday, Nov. 29. 

The free event will begin at 5:30 pm, with scheduled lighting of the tree at 6 p.m. The tree lighting has become a holiday tradition for families and the Tribute Tree also contributes to the community by helping fund scholarships for area students who dream of working in the healthcare field.

“Often people come here under more serious circumstances, so we really appreciate the opportunity to invite the community to our campus for some holiday fun,” said Matt Troup, Conway Regional’s president and CEO. “The Tribute Tree lighting has grown to become a community-wide tradition, and we are very appreciative of the support.”

Participants at the tree lighting will be able to vote for their favorite gingerbread house as part of Conway Regional’s employee gingerbread house decorating contest. More than 20 entries are expected. In addition to a people’s choice award, the contest will include a separate category for judging by local celebrity bakers, such as Patti Stobaugh and Julie Goodnight. The gingerbread house decorating contest is sponsored by Conway Regional’s employee-led recruitment and retention functional council.

In a new addition this year, children under the age of 12 will be entered into a drawing to join Santa as an honorary tree lighter. To qualify, their parents need to bring a new or gently used preschool book for the “Bookcase for Every Child” Project. “The Bookcase for Every Child program is a perfect fit for Conway Regional’s support of education in our community,” said Dot Welch, associate director of the Conway Regional Health Foundation.

Other attractions will include a book-signing by local children’s author Caryn Southerland. She will be onsite selling copies of her books “Cowboy Christmas” and “Ozark Christmas.”

The Conway Regional Gift Shop will also be open for holiday shopping.

The Conway Regional Health Foundation has awarded more than $300,000 to area students since 1996, relying on funds from Tribute Tree, physicians, nurses, Dazzle Daze and other private individuals.

Tributes and donations are being accepted throughout December. Names of donors and their loved ones will be displayed in the East Lobby of the medical center and at conwayregional.org. For more information about honoring a special person this holiday season, call 501.513.5778 or visit conwayregional.org/TributeTree.