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"An Evening of Holiday Elegance" is the theme of a gala dinner dance to be held Friday at in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo that will will open the 27th annual Festival of Trees to benefit Women and Children's Hospital.

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch, Oscar and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Pops conductor, will be the featured entertainer at the gala, which includes a celebration dinner presented by the American Culinary Federation of Greater Buffalo, a live auction, and dancing to the sounds of JoyRyde. Tickets are $175.

Paula M. Salvatore and Orlando P. Diaz are chairmen of the Festival of Trees, which will be held in the Hyatt through Dec. 5. The gala is the first in a series of holiday events to take place at the hotel in conjunction with the festival.

A "Tea With Barbie" featuring a silent auction of Barbie doll items, nail and hair boutiques, makeup and a "Barbie" photo shoot will be held at 2 p.m. Nov 27. Tickets are $35.

A Teddy Bear Tea featuring a Build-a-Bear Workshop is scheduled at 1 p.m. Dec. 4. Children of all ages will build Teddy bears and create personalized birth certificates for their new furry friends that they will carry home in Cub Condo cases. Tickets are $25.

The festival will close at a "Brunch Among the Trees" at 10 a.m. Dec. 5, when American Idol John Stevens will perform. Brunch will be served as demonstrations of seasonal menu items and tips for the holidays are presented. Andrew Dan-Jumbo of the Learning Channel's "While You Were Out" will be the master of ceremonies and there will be a silent auction of holiday gifts. Tickets are $20 for children 12 and under and $35 for adults.

Mark IV Industries Foundation and CGF Anesthesiology Associates are sponsors of this year's festival that encompasses a wonderland of fully decorated trees, wreaths, swags and mantle decorations that can be purchased and delivered to home or office.

There is no admission charge to view the trees and decorations.

The festival has raised more than $3 million to help upgrade equipment and facilities at Women and Children's Hospital. For tickets and information, call the hospital's foundation office at 878-7713 or e-mail

In conjunction with the festival, a special "Wrap Your Arms Around Children" tree-lighting ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the hospital, where a 20-foot tree will be illuminated to help kick off the holiday season for patients and visitors. Grand Island High School Madrigal Choir will entertain and there will be a cookies and hot chocolate reception for patients and their families.