General Questions

What is the Festival of Trees?

The Festival of Trees is a holiday themed family event that benefits the Kennedy Krieger Institute every year. The focal point of the event is the display and sale of more than 700 spectacular holiday trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses created by local designers, artists, florists, individuals, schools, and community groups. Additional attractions include live holiday entertainment, seasonal merchants and a model train display. One of the event’s most popular areas is SantaLand, an indoor carnival-style experience for children featuring crafts, games, Santa visits, and pony, carousel, and train rides.

Where is the event located?

The festival is held inside the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, located on 2200 York Road, Timonium, MD 21093. For directions, please call the Maryland State Fairgrounds at (410) 252-0200 or visit their website here.

When is the Festival of Trees 2016?

The Festival of Trees occurs annually during Thanksgiving Weekend. This year it will take place on:


  • November 25th from 10am-9pm
  • November 26th from 10am-9pm
  • November 27th from 10am-6pm

Do you have to pay to enter the event?


Discounted advance tickets may be purchased online at MissionTix for:

  • Adults: $13
  • Seniors 65 and older: $8
  • Children 5-12: $6
  • Children 4 and under: Free

*Discounted advance ticket prices available through Thursday, November 24th at 11:59pm.*

During the event, November 25th, 26th, and 27th, regularly priced tickets may be purchased at the onsite box office for:

  • Adults: $15 
  • Seniors 65 and older: $10
  • Children 5-12: $7 
  • Children 4 and under: Free

Want to skip the lines, but didn’t buy your tickets in advance? You may still purchase tickets online throughout the event for the regular ticket price.

If you do not wish to purchase your tickets online, discounted coupons may be found on our website for $1 off admission the day of the event.

Are Coupons accepted for online ticket purchase?

Coupons are not accepted for online transactions, but advance tickets may be purchased at a discounted price through Thursday, November 24th at 11:59pm.

Do I have to purchase tickets for a specific day?

No. Just purchase as many tickets as you need (you will need a ticket per person per day that you plan on attending) and then come on the day/time that works best for you! 

I purchased my tickets online. Now what? 

Since you have purchased your tickets online you get to SKIP THE LINE! Just print your tickets at home, bring them with you to the event, and proceed directly to the event’s main entrance. Or you may show your tickets on your SMART phone.

What are the benefits of purchasing my tickets in advance online? 

There are a number of reasons that it is in your best interest to purchase your tickets in advance online:

  1. You can print your tickets at home or show them on your SMART phone at the event entrance.
  2. You get to SKIP THE LINES at the Box Office since you have already printed your tickets at home
  3. Tickets purchased in advance are DISCOUNTED!!! You save $2 off regular Adult and Senior admission and $1 Children’s admission (through Thursday, November 24th at 11:59pm).

How do I attend the Festival of Trees for FREE?

By signing up for a Festival Friends FUNdraising Page, participants can receive (1) FREE ticket to the Festival of Trees 2016 for every $13 that you raise in support of the children we serve at Kennedy Krieger. You can earn as many tickets as you have $13 donations to your page so call on your friends and family to support Kennedy Krieger and we’ll say “thank you” with FREE tickets.

May I leave to run to my car and come back?

Yes, you may. When you leave, ask one of the volunteers at the Entrance/Exit to stamp your hand so that you may come back in. 

Are items purchased tax deductible?

Items purchased at the event are only tax deductible if they have been purchased for higher than their fair market value. This can ONLY happen with Silent Auction items. All admission tickets, trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses, and raffle entries are NOT tax deductible. 

Will there be food?

There will be food at the event. The Fairgrounds’ vendor Hightopps Backstage Grille will be open and selling items all day. There will also be other snack (fudge, popcorn, slushies) that will be available to buy from other vendors throughout the event. 

Is there an ATM?

There will be an ATM onsite AT the event itself; however, most of the activities/vendors do accept credit cards. 

Do you have any General Tips for attending Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Festival of Trees?

  • Purchase Admission Tickets in advance to save money and time.
  • Leave your coat in the car. (Although it is cold outside, we have the heat on inside!)
  • Bring a shopping bag for all your goodies (Remember, all wreaths and 2-foot trees are cash & carry and we will not be able to hold them for you.)
  • Coordinate a designated meeting spot in case you and your family/friends get separated. 
  • Don’t forget your camera. (There are many great opportunities to take your holiday greeting card picture at the event.)
  • Bring your spare change to throw in the Wishing Well.
  • Be prepared to spend at least two hours at the event.

SantaLand (Children’s Area)

What activities are there in SantaLand (Kids’ Area)?

  • Santa
  • Train Ride
  • Carousel (Wheelchair accessible)
  • Inflatable Slide
  • Carnival Games
  • The Princess Companies 
  • Wildlife Adventures (Mini Petting Zoo)
  • Remote Control Race Track
  • Race Car Simulator Ride
  • “Reindeer” Pony Rides 
  • Make Your Own Craft
  • Coloring
  • Santa Letter Writing/Express Mailbox
  • Other activities offered by our vendors

How much do SantaLand activities cost? 

SantaLand Activity Ticket Prices (Red Activity Tickets are $.50 each)
  • 2 Red Tickets: Carnival Games
  • 4 Red Tickets: Arts & Crafts, Carousel, Train Ride, and Fun House
  • 6 Red Tickets: Remote Control Race Track and Simulator Ride
  • $5 Green Ticket: 1 Pony Ride (You may also use 10 Red Tickets)
  • $5 Wristband: Unlimited Carousel, Train and Fun House Walkthroughs

You can purchase an Activity Ticket Quick Pack for $20 at the Ticket Booth in SantaLand. The Activity Ticket Quick Pack includes 20 Red Activity Tickets, 1 Wristband*, and 1 Pony Ride. (Wristband good for Unlimited Carousel, Train and Fun House Walkthroughs) 

Are there any activities you can do for free at the Festival of Trees? 

There are several activities that are free at the event! This includes:
  • Viewing of more than 700 decorated trees, wreaths, and gingerbreads
  • Around the clock entertainment (check the schedule here)
  • Visiting Anna and Elsa and other princesses in SantaLand 
  • Coloring Station for the kids
  • Letter Writing to Santa & Express Mailbox to the North Pole
  • Santa visits (Don’t forget your camera!)
  • Wildlife Adventures Animal Display (mini petting zoo)
  • Model Train garden/display  

Trees, Wreaths & Gingerbread 

How/where do I purchase a tree, wreath, or gingerbread house?

These items may be purchased at the Sales Booth (to the right when you walk in the main entrance) by paying with cash, credit, or check. All checks can be made out to Kennedy Krieger Institute. Please note: there are no refunds on any of these items.

Can the 7-foot and 4-foot trees be delivered?

Yes, for an additional $50 almost all 7-foot and 4-foot trees can be delivered. (If tree or parts of tree cannot be delivered you will be told at the time of purchase and then you must make arrangements to pick them up after the event). Trees will be delivered the week following the Festival. We cannot guarantee a delivery time/date. All tree deliveries are subject to these additional terms and conditions: 
  • Trees can only be delivered within a 30-mile radius from the Fairgrounds.
  • Trees are purchased in “as is” condition.  
  • Deliveries are made outside to first floors only of all homes, condos, apartments, businesses, etc.
  • If you are not home at time of delivery the tree will be left at your front door or garage area. 
  • Tree deliveries to businesses will be made to the loading dock, or building front door.
  • Buyers are responsible for unpacking and setting up trees.

What happens when I purchase a wreath/2-foot tree/gingerbread house?

All 2-foot trees and wreaths are cash and carry. As soon as you purchase the item you must take it with you. Due to space constraints, we will not be able to hold items for you. Please bring a bag to carry the item with you while you enjoy the rest of your day, or be prepared to take it out to the car right away. All gingerbread houses must be picked up after the event.

What are the pick-up times for 7-foot trees, 4-foot trees, and gingerbread houses?

If you are not having your 7-foot or 4-foot tree delivered or if you bought a gingerbread house you can pick up these items November 29th from 6-9pm or November 30th from 10am-6pm. Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Maryland State Fairgrounds are not responsible for items left after these pick-up times.

When I pick-up my tree, how is it packaged?

We will wrap the tree in the best way possible to fit it in your vehicle. We typically shrink wrap your tree very tightly, with all the ornaments and lights still attached. If you would rather take some of the ornaments off, you are welcome to bring some bags or boxes for you to package them. We do have tree boxes that we can put the bottom of your tree in, however these boxes don’t fit in most vehicles. Make sure to bring rope or bungee cords when you pick-up your tree, as we won’t have any on hand.

When my tree is delivered, how is it packaged?

When your tree is delivered using our delivery company, we place your tree in one of our tree boxes that covers the bottom half of your tree. We then place a large plastic bag over the top of your tree and wrap it tightly to the box with shrink wrap. While every effort is made to keep your tree in pristine condition, please understand that some ornaments may get displaced during the delivery process.

What happens to the trees/wreaths/gingerbread houses that don’t get sold?

The trees/wreaths/gingerbread houses get distributed to various departments and clinics throughout Kennedy Krieger Institute for the children to enjoy. We have also been known to donate some to other non-profits in the area.

How to get Involved

How do I sign up to sponsor of the event?

Festival of Trees at Kennedy Krieger Institute could not happen without the generous support of our incredible sponsors and donors. We have sponsorships available from $1,000 to $40,000 and each level includes a variety of benefits including signage, advertising, event tickets, etc. 

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please call the Kennedy Krieger Institute Office of Philanthropy at (443) 923-7300 or email FestivalOfTrees@KennedyKrieger.org

How do I sign up to decorate a tree, wreath, or gingerbread house?

Please contact Theresa Macheski at Macheski@KennedyKrieger.org or the Kennedy Krieger Institute Office of Philanthropy at 443-923-7300 for more information on how to become a designer at the Festival of Trees. You can also register to design an item or see the designer guidelines and regulations here

How do I sign up to volunteer at the event?

Please contact the Festival of Trees staff at FestivalOfTrees@KennedyKrieger.org or call the Kennedy Krieger Institute Office of Philanthropy at 443-923-7300. 

How do I sign up to perform at the Festival of Trees next year?

Please contact the Festival of Trees at FestivalOfTrees@KennedyKrieger.org or call the Kennedy Krieger Institute Office of Philanthropy at 443-923-7300.

How do I sign up to be a vendor next year?

If you are interested in having a vendor booth the Festival of Trees, please call the Kennedy Krieger Institute Office of Philanthropy at 443-923-7300 or email FestivalOfTrees@KennedyKrieger.org.

How do I donate an item to the Festival of Trees Silent Auction?

Please contact Kellan Newby-Matthews at NewbyK@KennedyKrieger.org or call the Kennedy Krieger Institute Office of Philanthropy at 443-923-7300.