HELENA – The 30th annual Intermountain Festival of Trees is this week at the Helena Civic Center with this year’s theme is “Christmas in New York”.

The Festival of Trees opens to the public at 7 p.m. Thursday night and has events that run through the weekend.

Intermountain helps more than 2,000 children and families a year who struggle with emotional or mental health issues. The Festival of Trees is the largest fundraising event of the year for Intermountain. Every year thousands of people come to see the trees and support the organization.

One of this year’s tree designers is 9-year-old Aliza Jane Sark who works hard to give as much as she can to the children of Intermountain.

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Aliza Jane’s tree this year is called “Christmas in Zoo York”. She worked all year to pay for her tree by collecting scraps of metal to recycle at Pacific Steel.

Aliza Jane’s mother Amy Sark said that, per Aliza Jane’s request, she would drive her daughter up and down alleyways, after school, looking for items to recycle.

“Aliza Jane (built) this tree for the children of Intermountain,” said Amy Sark, “Last year she was fortunate enough that the person that bought her tree donated it back to the children of Intermountain.”

Amy added that they hope to have the tree donated back to Intermountain again this year from whoever purchases it.

All the ornaments on the tree double as toys for the kids; Aliza Jane said she has play-mobile sets and stuffed animals for the kids as well.

For Aliza Jane, the most important part is helping the children of Intermountain.

“This means so much to me because I feel sad in my heart when I know that the children of Intermountain can’t go home for Christmas,” said Aliza Jane.

For more information about this year’s festival of trees and a full list of events click here.

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