By Ron Matz

TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) – If you’re looking for some holiday cheer and a chance to buy a unique Christmas tree, just head to the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium this weekend. It’s the 21st annual Festival of Trees.

Ron Matz reports the benefit for the Kennedy Krieger Institute is like a visit to a winter wonderland.

Welcome to Santa’s theme park. The Kemp family visits every year and this year their tree is all about birds. Nearly everything is handmade on the tree.

“A lot of our trees are handmade. We decided on a theme, ‘Gone away is the bluebird, here to stay is the new bird.’ So our tree is very bird oriented, a lot of handmade nests, decorated birdhouses. The tree topper is an original. The trees are all for sale. They are so creative and it’s all volunteers. All these people put their time in. We have wreaths and gingerbreads. It is just amazing,” said Susan Dumler, tree designer. “We would start in the summer. We would try to accumulate what we think our idea would be and put our items together. We came out Sunday and got here at 8 o’clock and left at three, and it was done.”

Thousands will enjoy the holiday tradition. 

“When people come here they are so happy. It’s so joyful to walk around and see all these smiling faces, the children and the parents. We have Santa Land, where kids can go in and spend the whole day. We have a merry go-round and face painting and race cars, it’s something for everybody. It’s incredible for the kids,” said Lainy Lebow-Sachs, Kennedy Krieger Institute.

The money raised will benefit Kennedy Krieger Institute.

“We have a silent auction with over 200 items this year–a Joe Flacco shirt and a Michael Oher shirt, lots of wonderful things. There’s a fabulous train exhibit and we have wonderful food, and there’s 100 vendors and you can start your holiday shopping,” said Lebow-Sachs.

The incredible Sabatino’s tree is Christmas with a chance of meatballs. There are gingerbread houses, Christmas wreaths and a silent auction.

This year visitors will have a chance to see more than 600 decorated trees.

The Kemp sisters visit in memory of their sister Holly.

“A lot of this has to do with my sister Holly. She’s no longer with us. She loved doing this so much. Christmas was really a special time for her,” said Dumler.

The Festival of Trees is a special event for everyone.

“We have entertainment all day and all evening every day. Saturday night Dorothy Hamill will be coming to read to the families. Friday night, Jameel McClain of the Ravens will read to the kids. And we have the fantastic band from Baltimore, ‘Milkshake,'” said Lebow-Sachs. “We have this unbelievable raffle for $2 for one ticket and $5 for three tickets. It’s two Super Bowl tickets, two plane tickets and a hotel room in Dallas, Texas. We’ve had people buying 200 tickets at a time. It’s going like crazy.

WJZ is a proud sponsor of the Festival of Trees as part of our Continuing Community Commitment. Click here for more information.


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