TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) – Maryland is kicking off the holiday season in a big way. The Festival of Trees is underway at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

Amy Yensi has more.

After a year of planning, 12 days of setting up and more than 500 volunteers, the fairgrounds have been transformed into a winter wonderland.

The halls are decked and all 700 trees are dressed; Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Festival of Trees is back at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

“It really sends a message out the holiday is on its way,” said Lainy Lebow-Sachs, executive vice president of Kennedy Krieger.

The largest holiday-themed festival on the East Coast is in its 26th year.

From Santa Land to Gingerbread Town, including some creations from WJZ’s crew, the holiday fun is getting everyone in a cheerful mood.

“It’s happy. It’s upbeat. Everybody is enjoying themselves. My babies get to see a lot of different things. That always make me happy,” said Aaron Camper.

From small trees to tall, towering ones, there are trees to match every style and size.

“I got to see 1,000 trees almost. It was really cool,” one little girl said.

“I’m making my way over to look at the Chick-Fil-A tree,” another visitor said.

“They all are good, and they’re all wonderful,” said Carolyn Camper-George.

Every item on display is for sale. All of the money goes toward the institute’s research to help children with developmental disabilities.

“It’s about giving and not taking,” one boy said.

“I think it’s important to walk away and realize how blessed you really are and that every donation that you make helps someone else,” said Mary Smith.

Starting the season of giving with a worthy cause and holiday cheer.

The Festival of Trees runs through Sunday.

As part of our continuing community commitment, WJZ is a proud sponsor.