TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — It’s the largest holiday extravaganza on the East Coast and its right here in Baltimore. The festival of trees began Friday at the Maryland state fairgrounds in Timonium.

A benefit for the Kennedy Krieger Institute the festival will have 900 trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses for sale.

Organizers are looking to raise about $1 million.

“Everything is for sale. People are going to see 900 trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses, all decorated by members of our community,” said Michelle Mueller, director of special events for the Kennedy Krieger Institute. “We have corporate sponsors, families, schools- all participating and showing off their trees. You can come in and purchase a ready decorated tree for your home or business. You can have a wreath on your door. We do it all.”

The Kemp sisters from Baltimore County have been decorating a tree for the festival for 21 years. This year’s tree looks like an icicle and is called “where the treetops glisten.” It has been a year in the making.

“It feels really good. I kind of look forward to it all year, said Anita Kemp, the 90-year-old matriarch of the Kemp family. “It’s like, Christmas doesn’t start until we get the tree in. That works out really good.”

The festival is in its 29th year with proceeds from the event benefiting patient care, research, special education, and community programs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

“It benefits all of our patient programs. We see 24,000 patients a year,” said Mueller. “We treat children with patient care, special education, community initiatives, and research as well.”

The Kemp sisters say they love keeping the family tradition going and raising money for Kennedy Krieger.

“I love seeing all the creativity and I love the fact the money goes for something worthwhile, for the kids,” said Cheri Guariglia, one of the Kemp sisters.

Hours for the festival are 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m – 5 p.m. Sunday.

Santa arrived for breakfast at 9:45 a.m. Friday to begin the festivities.

For more information on the event or directions, visit the Festival Website.

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