CEDAR RAPIDS — The elves from the Cedar Rapids Jaycees and The Gazette are dashing to once again launch the holiday season in style Saturday (11/17) and Sunday (11/18) with the Festival of Trees & Holiday Market at Hawkeye Downs, 4400 Sixth St. SW.
Admission is free, but in the spirit of giving, the public is invited to make the season brighter by bringing canned goods for the HACAP Food Bank and new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots.
Since last year’s outpouring of food was so huge — collecting about 20 tons of food — HACAP will have a truck on site, so visitors can help fill it up.
Santa’s always the star at any holiday gathering, and he’ll be there to hear the wish lists of good boys and girls of all ages.
But the centerpiece of the event will be more than 50 decorated Christmas trees.
“Expect to see a LegoLand tree, a Disney-themed tree and a Candyland tree, among others,” said Ariel Moore, a Jaycees vice president. “A lot of the companies think of great themes and do a wonderful job decorating their tree. The trees this year are going to be really fun.”
The one garnering the most visitor votes will take home the People’s Choice award.
Many will be for sale through an ongoing silent auction. Bidding starts at $50, with all proceeds benefiting HACAP, Shoes for Kids, Toys for Tots and the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. Last year’s event raised more than $11,000 for local nonprofit charities.
Participants can request to receive a text, so if they get outbid, they can bid again.
Worried about getting a tall tree home? For $20, Always Moving Forward, a local moving company, will deliver it to any door in the Corridor on Sunday evening or Monday morning.
More than 30 local merchants will be selling gift items in the Holiday Market.
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Music will rocking around the Christmas trees with holiday tunes from the Heavy Metal Tuba Band and the Rockwell Collins Concert Band to vocalists and actors from Revival Theatre Company and Playtime Poppy’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.”
WHAT: Festival of Trees and Holiday Market
WHERE: Hawkeye Downs Expo Center, 4400 Sixth St. SW, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday (11/17) and Sunday (11/18)
ADMISSION: Free; canned goods and unwrapped Toys for Tots donations welcome
FEATURES: More than 50 decorated trees and silent auction, holiday shopping vendors, music, Santa visits