RUPERT — The Minidoka Health Care Foundation Caring & Sharing Tree Festival is in full swing preparing for the 19th Annual Tree Festival held at the Rupert Civic Auditorium over Thanksgiving weekend.

The festival theme this year is “Santa’s Workshop.” Tammy Hanks, Foundation director, says, “This is such an amazingly wonderful community event. We truly love the exceptional participation from local businesses in Mini-Cassia, but the way the community comes together to make our festival successful is an inspiration to watch and be a part of.”

Anticipating more than 50 decorated trees and over 100 smaller items, the Caring & Sharing event offers something for everyone. The event kicks off with the Gala Buyers Luncheon at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 24 and runs until 2 p.m. If you are interested in purchasing a tree, it is recommended to be at the Gala at 11 a.m. Other events include the Teddy Bear Breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. followed by the Senior Social from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Caring & Sharing event runs through Monday night, November 27 until 7 p.m. Admission is free. This year the festival received a donation from local photographer Mike Simcoe, who donated a framed, matted picture of Steam Engine #844 that passed through Minidoka this past summer. “When you see the quality of this picture and the history that it represents, it just gives a person goosebumps,” said Hanks. She also added that “Mike is such a talented photographer and I believe he has the ability to capture more than just a picture in his work.”

The picture will be sold at the Caring & Sharing Tree Festival by silent auction. “I encourage each of you to join us during Caring & Sharing and feel the magic of the season the minute you walk through the door,” said Hanks. If you have any questions or would like to donate, volunteer or be a sponsor, please call Hanks at 208-434-7827.