General Questions

What is Festival of Trees?

Festival of Trees is an annual holiday-themed family event that benefits Kennedy Krieger Institute. The focal point of the event is the display and sale of hundreds of spectacular holiday trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses created by local designers, artists, florists, individuals, schools and community groups. Additional attractions include live holiday entertainment, and seasonal merchants. One of the event’s most popular areas is the “North Pole” an indoor carnival-style experience for children featuring crafts, games and Santa visits, and full-size carousel, train ride, funhouse, LEGO display and more!

Where is the event located?

The Festival is held inside the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, located at 2200 York Road, Timonium, MD 21093. For directions please click here.

When is Festival of Trees 2023?

The 34th annual Festival of Trees will return Thanksgiving weekend, November 24-26, for three days of holiday cheer that benefits the patients, students and programs at Kennedy Krieger Institute! 

Friday, November 24: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Saturday, November 25: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday, November 26: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Do you have to pay to enter the event?

Yes, general admission ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adults: $20 

  • Seniors 65 and older: $15 

  • Children 5-12: $10 

  • Children 4 and under: Free 

Discounted, advanced admission is available online through Thursday, November 23, 2023.

  • Adults: $18
  • Seniors 65 and older: $13

  • Children 5-12: $8

  • Children 4 and under: Free

Are there timed-entry tickets this year?

This year we do not have timed entry. All tickets will be for general admission and able to be used at any point during the event weekend.

I purchased my tickets online. Now what? 

Since you have purchased your tickets online, you get to SKIP THE LINE! Just show your tickets on your smartphone at the event entrance. 

Is there a fee for event parking? 

Parking is free for Festival of Trees and there is limited handicap accessible parking. 

Also, it is suggested that motorists do not attempt a left-hand turn into the fairgrounds off York Road. Motorists are advised to approach the York Road gate from the north (from Padonia Road) or the Timonium Road Gate from the east (from York Road) during this period.  

What options are there other than utilizing the free parking at the fairgrounds? 

Event attendees can: 

Leave The Driving To MTA: 
The Timonium Light Rail Stop is located a short walk from the entrance to the Fairgrounds near the Cow Palace. The MTA No. 9 bus line also serves the Timonium Park and Ride/Light Rail Stop. Because convenient parking is limited, use of the Light Rail or the No. 9 bus line is encouraged. For detailed schedule information please contact MTA directly at 410-539-5000 

Park and Ride:                                                                                     
Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Park and Ride lot on Deerco Road, with pedestrian access to the Fairgrounds through the gate opposite the Cow Palace. The Cow Palace gate is open throughout the Festival of Trees. 

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. 

Do you have wheelchairs to rent at the event?

We do not provide wheelchairs at the event. 


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. 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 Nick’s Grandstand Grill will be open and selling items all day. There will also be food trucks outside and snacks (fudge, popcorn, slushies) that are available to buy from other vendors throughout the event. 

Is there an ATM?

There are multiple ATMs 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 guarantee your entry time. 

  • Dress in layers! The event is usually warm inside, but this year the venue doors may be propped open to increase air circulation. 

  • 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. 

Can I bring my dog/pet?

Pets are not allowed inside the Cow Palace during Festival of Trees. However, service animals specifically trained to aid a person with a disability are welcome. 

What activities are there for kids?

  • Santa 

  • Train Ride 

  • Carousel (Wheelchair accessible) 

  • Boat Ride 

  • Motorcycle Ride 

  • Fun House 

  • Carnival Games  

  • Remote Control Racetrack 

  • Holiday Craft 

  • LEGO Display Area 

  • Coloring 

  • Cookie Decorating

  • Santa Letter Writing/Express Mailbox 

  • Other activities offered by our vendors 

How much do kids' activities cost?

Purchase Activity Tickets at the Green & White Ticket Booths in the North Hall for $1 each (Cash and Credit accepted) 

  • 1 Activity Ticket: Carnival Games (1 Ticket Per Game, 6 Games Total)

  • 2 Activity Tickets: Holiday Craft, Carousel, Train Ride, Boat Ride, Motorcycle Ride and Fun House 

  • 3 Activity Tickets: Remote Control Racetrack 

  • $10 Wristband: Unlimited Carousel, Train, Motorcycle and Boat Rides, and Fun House Walkthroughs. (Best option if you plan to do everything!) 

  • Activity Discount Pack - $20 each (Includes: 12 Activity Tickets and 1 Wristband)


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 500 decorated trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses 

  • All-day entertainment

  • Coloring Station for the kids 

  • Letter Writing to Santa & Express Mailbox to the North Pole 

  • Santa visits (Don’t forget your camera!) 

  • LEGO display 

  • Meet & greets with the Princess Company and other special guests! 

  • Several Photo stations for that perfect holiday memory.   


Trees, Wreaths And Gingerbread Houses

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

These items may be purchased at the Sales Booth (to the left when you walk in the main entrance) by paying with cash, credit card 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 $75 almost all 7-foot and 4-foot trees can be delivered. (If a tree or parts of a 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 of 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 the 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 or a 2-foot tree?

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 and 4-foot trees?

If you are not having your 7-foot or 4-foot tree or wreath delivered, or if you bought a gingerbread house, you can pick up these items at the Maryland State Fairgrounds at the close of the event on Sunday, November 26, 2023, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., or Monday, November 27, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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 in 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 and wreaths that don’t get sold?

The trees and wreaths are distributed to various departments and clinics throughout Kennedy Krieger Institute for the children to enjoy. We often donate some to other non-profit organizations in the area. 

Silent Auction

When does the Auction open? How do I view auction items? 

The online auction opens at 8 a.m. on Friday, November 24, 2023. You will be able to view the items by visiting our virtual auction page. More information coming soon! 

When does the Auction close? When will I be notified if I won something? 

The auction will be open all three days of Festival of Trees and closes at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 26, 2023. (No bids will be accepted once the auction has closed).

If you made the winning bid, you will be notified shortly after the auction closes through an alert sent to your email and/or cell phone from OneCause, and your credit card will be charged. Our Festival of Trees Staff will also be making calls to each winner Sunday night after the auction closes to confirm your item, go over pick-up options, and answer any questions you may have. 

Where do I pick up my auction item? Can it be shipped if I can’t make it to the Cow Palace? 

All auction items will be available for pick-up at the Maryland State Fairgrounds Cow Palace (2200 York Rd Timonium, MD 21093)   

Sunday, November 26: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Monday, November 27: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

All winners will be contacted by phone or email on either Sunday evening, November 26, or Monday, November 27, to discuss pick-up/shipping options. Items may be shipped for an additional charge. (Please note: If items are to be shipped, it will take at least a week for event staff to determine the shipping fees based on the specific item and final shipping destination.) 

Any item not picked up onsite at the Maryland State Fairgrounds must be picked up at the Kennedy Krieger Institute Broadway/Ashland Location by appointment only.   

Gift Certificates and certain smaller items can be mailed to the winner for an additional charge. 

All sales are final and there will be no refunds or exchanges. 

Do autographed items come with certificates of Authenticity?

Yes, autographed items from Robbie’s First Base will be presented with a Certificate of Authenticity from JSA, PSA or Beckett, the top autograph authenticators in the industry. You will know if your item comes with a certificate if it says ‘Presented with Certificate of Authenticity’ in the description of the item.

I won an item in the auction! How do I pay?

Congratulations! There is no need for you to take any action on your part. We will automatically charge the credit card you have on file. 


How To Get Involved

How do I sign up to be a 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. Learn more here.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please call the Kennedy Krieger Institute Office of Philanthropy at 443-923-7300 or email


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

Please contact the Kennedy Krieger Institute Office of Philanthropy at for more information on how to become a designer at Festival of Trees. You can also register to design an item; the designer guidelines and regulations can be found here.

How do I sign up to volunteer at the event?

Please contact the Festival of Trees staff at

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

Please contact the Festival of Trees staff at

How do I sign up to be a vendor?

If you are interested in having a vendor booth at Festival of Trees, email or apply here.

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

Please contact the Kennedy Krieger Institute Office of Philanthropy by emailing