By Devin Bartolotta

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore’s Festival of Trees is just a few days away and decorators have been hard at work setting up the annual Kennedy Krieger Institute event.

Some say it doesn’t feel like the holidays until the Festival of Trees at the Maryland Fair Grounds begin.

The festival is back for its 28th year. Organizers are expecting 50,000 people to visit for the rides, games, performances, activities and shopping this year.

“Oh, it’s wonderful! You can’t miss it! It’s absolutely magnificent,” two-time cancer survivor Kim Berk said.

Berk is sending a message of hope, inspired by the movie “Up,” for her tree.

“I just hope that when people leave the festival and they see that little tree, they get the message of don’t give up,” she said. “Persevere. It’s worth it.”

Plenty of elves have been hard at work setting up this year’s festive display of almost 700 expertly-decorated Christmas trees, wreaths ad carefully crafted gingerbread houses.

Since 1990, the Festival of Trees has raised nearly $20 million dollars to fund programs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.

“It’s definitely become the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season for a lot of families in Baltimore,” said Michele Mueller of the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Gingerbread houses designed by WJZ are also for sale at the festival.

The Festival of Trees is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Maryland Fairgrounds. You can have breakfast with Santa on Sunday.

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