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    "It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things," wrote Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol​, "that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour." This is the basic glass-half-full philosophy that powers the Festival of Trees and Lights every pre-Christmas season, which benefits the Kosair Children's Hospital and is being held this year from November 11 to 13 at Louisville Slugger Field. This cheerful extravaganza, now in its 22nd year, is packed full of family-friendly events, shopping, and entertainment that help usher Louisville into the holidays, all while raising money and awareness for an excellent cause.

    But this event owes much more to Dickens than a catchy quote and basic mission statement. On Friday, November 11, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., in what is sure to be the highlight for young festival-goers, characters and carolers in authentic Victorian costume will make their magnificent appearance for Dickens Family Night. As these time-traveling Oliver Twists and David Copperfields provide roaming entertainment for the crowds, parents (and youngsters with brave appetites!) will be able to enjoy Old English-style fare, and everyone will end the night under a spectacle of fireworks.

    The next morning, on November 12, Santa Claus (who will have made a sneak-peek appearance the night before at the Dickensian festivities) will be taking pictures and eating breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with children who stayed off his "naughty" list all year. Stick around afterwards for the Festival of Trees and Lights proper, where booths specifically for families will be set up amid the many ongoing attractions. Activities here will include ornament-making, face-painting, and gingerbread house decoration. Of course, festivities throughout the course of the weekend will be enhanced by the beauty of the hundreds of decorated trees, wreaths, and assorted greenery that garnish the halls and walls. The trees mentioned are sponsored by area businesses and individuals, are constructed and adorned by creative designers, and will be available for purchase. In the same spirit of giving celebrated in Dickens's famous Christmas morality tale, the entirety of the proceeds from these purchases will benefit Kosair Children's Hospital.

    The Festival of Trees and Lights will be held November 11, 12, and 13, at the Louisville Slugger Museum on 401 East Main Street. The Dickens Family Night will be on November 11 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Cost of admission for children under 12 is $5, and $8 for those over the age of 12. Family packages are available for families of four or more for $25. Breakfast with Santa will be from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on November 12 and is $12 for all persons (except children aged 2 and under, who are admitted free).

    This event will help fund a $7 million initiative to expand Kosair Children's Hospital's trauma program. Your contributions will help pay for the addition of new emergency and surgical equipment, helipad improvements, and specialty care in pediatric surgery. Call (502)-629-8060 to purchase tickets or learn more about the Festival of Trees and Lights.

    Karen Ellestad's picture

    About Karen Ellestad

    When I was seven and my brother was eight, we both wrote to 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?' for a free t-shirt. Two weeks later his arrived in the mail, signed by Carmen Sandiego herself, accompanied by an autographed picture of the cast, an official membership to the 'Gumshoe Club,' and a Rockapella casette tape. I got a postcard.

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