By Jonathan McCall

TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ)-– Thousands are already flocking to the Maryland State Fairgrounds for the opening day of the Festival of Trees.

More than 50,000 people are expected to pack into the fairgrounds for the 28th annual event. With more than 900 trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses ready to buy and take home.

The rides, gazes and gifts bought at the Christmas wonderland will provide another valuable gift to a group of kids who need it most.

“We like to say if Santa had a theme park this would be it,” said Michele Mueller of the Kennedy Krieger Institute. “It is our largest fundraiser of the year. We couldn’t have some of our programs without some of the money raised from this event.”

Money raised from the festival allows the Kennedy Krieger Institute to provide help for thousands of children with physical and developmental disabilities.

“I wanted a Lego fidget spinner,” one kid said. “I’ve enjoyed the rides.”

Organizers say planning for the Festival of Trees is a year round event that gets underway in January. In just a few short weeks, organizers will be getting ready for next year’s event.

For the young and young at heart, they say the magic of the season, and the event is what brings them back year after year or for the second time in one day.

“You get to come and enjoy the spirit of the holidays, and you’re supporting a good cause while you’re here,” said visitor Brenda Anderson.

“This is my first time, I’ve never been here and it’s beautiful, it’s just breathtaking,” said visitor Beth Romanchek. “We did the whole thing, and then we came back and we’re like, I could do it again.”

The Festival of Trees runs through Sunday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

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