Kennedy Krieger Institute Festival of Trees - 23 Nov 2012
Even with all those elves, Santa himself couldn’t have designed a better fantasy world than Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Festival of Trees. It’s a three-day extravaganza of fairyland forests, gingerbread towns and toy train gardens, complemented by over 100 craft boutiques, holiday goodies and activities for kids of all ages. You can also enjoy a special line-up of nightly entertainment for the whole family!
Throughout the years, Festival of Trees has grown in size, made exciting additions, conquered "disasters" and maintained its status as one of the area's most eagerly anticipated events of the year. Ultimately, "If Santa had a theme park, this would be it!".
When & Where: Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 24th, 25th, & 26th, 2012. Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., & Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.
The Kennedy Krieger Institute's first Festival of Trees opened on December 8, 1990 at Festival Hall, located at the Convention Center in downtown Baltimore. This first Festival featured an Opening Ceremony, Celebrity Lunch, over 100 decorated trees, wreaths, and table top displays, a full-size antique carousel, shopping vendors, holiday entertainment, children's activities, and of course, Santa. More than 25,000 people attended this 8 day winter wonderland, raising nearly $400,000 for the institute.
The Festival of Trees committee was very excited to see how the Baltimore community had embraced their new holiday fundraiser. For the next three years, Festival maintained its success with the addition of various attractions and events including a children's Secret Santa Shop, a Teddy Bear Tea, Scout Night Sing-a-long, Gospel Night, an international village featuring holiday celebrations from around the world, and designer gingerbread houses.
In 1994, as Kennedy Krieger Institute prepared to celebrate its 5th Annual Festival of Trees, the location was changed from Festival Hall to the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. This change allowed for the event to grow substantially, offer unlimited free parking, easy light rail access, and attract more visitors from outside the city.
Around that time, the dates of Festival of Trees were changed from the second week of December to Thanksgiving Week (Wednesday-Sunday), which allowed the event to capture holiday gift shoppers, people looking for holiday decorations, and families looking for a fun activity to kick off the holiday season. This change did not affect attendance, which skyrocketed to 50,000 that year! Six years later, it was decided to hold Festival during the weekend after Thanksgiving, compacting it into 3 days, which is still our format today.
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