BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The largest holiday event on the East Coast is right around the corner. The Festival of Trees benefiting the Kennedy Krieger Institute starts the day after Thanksgiving.

Mary Bubala reports it’s a tradition that kicks off the holiday season.

For three days only, the Maryland State Fairgrounds transforms into a winter wonderland with hundreds of specially decorated trees and gingerbread houses.

This year, Kennedy Krieger students are building their own gingerbread house.  It’s a replica of their high school on Greenspring Avenue.

“We brainstormed it, then we looked it up the recipe how to make it,” a student said.

Their creativity abounds. The green grass and shrubbery are made from Rice Krispies with green food coloring!

“Right now I am trying to put the bushes in and also paint up these trees using icing,” said Jahir Scarlett, Kennedy Krieger HS student.

The Festival of Trees has been a family tradition since 1990. In that time, it’s raised more than $13 million for the Kennedy Krieger Institute, which benefits 18,000 young people each year.

So when you go, look for their gingerbread high school and bid high!

“They know it’s going to be on display, and it just makes them really proud of themselves and the work they do, and they get to work together as a team,” said Lindsay Balladarsch, special education teacher.

The Festival of Trees opens to the public on Friday, Nov. 29 at 10 a.m.   It runs through Sunday, Dec. 1.

To purchase discounted tickets in advance or learn more about the festival, click here.

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