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The 37th annual Festival of Trees – the holiday celebration that helps usher in the Christmas season and serves as a fundraiser for Quad City Arts – ended its run in downtown Davenport at the RiverCenter on Sunday night, Nov. 27. “We had a great year. We really had some great weather all week,” Kevin Maynard, executive director of Quad City Arts, told the QCBJ on Monday morning. “We’re busy here this morning packing up trees for people.” He added that final attendance and fundraising numbers for this year’s festival are not yet available. However, it appears those numbers will be better than last year when more than 30,000 people attended the festival. Mr. Maynard said the group does not normally release the amount of money raised from the event, but the money brought in through the festival will help “fund a good chunk” of arts programs in the next year. The event has a $2.5 million economic impact on the community, and has raised more than $8 million in support of local arts since 1986, according to the Festival of Trees website. This year’s holiday event featured more than 100 designer trees, 14 special events and 3,500 volunteers. The festival was a hit with its many visitors, who toured the exhibit hall between Nov. 19-27. For instance on Friday, Nov. 25, the words “This is gorgeous” was repeated many times over as crowds of people filled the RiverCenter to see the many decorated trees, gingerbread houses, wreaths, decorations, model trains and everything else associated with Christmas. “It’s a really fun feeling here … Anything to do with peppermint is my favorite. That’s one of the big themes this year,” said Amber Day-Meeker of Davenport. In fact, the Festival of Trees theme this year was “Walk Through the Peppermint Forest.” She added that she also was pleased to see student art showcased at the festival because her husband is an art teacher at Davenport West High School. One corner of the RiverCenter was devoted to numerous pieces of art created by students from across the Quad Cities region. Another visitor also liked the student artwork, but quickly pointed to the ceiling when asked about his favorite display. “So far, my favorite has been the ceiling, believe it or not. I’ve never seen it done that way,” said Kevin Banfield, of Moline. That ceiling was decorated with red and white banners, and strings of white lights. But most of the center was all about the many things to do with Christmas – especially the decorated Christmas trees. Among those trees were these themed trees: “Midnight Ice,” which was decorated with small blue and white lights; a “Passport to Christmas” tree that was placed in a white suitcase; “A Gremlins Christmas,” designed with many Gremlins figures and toys; and “Bumble Saves Christmas” tree that featured a snow monster named Bumble. (“Bumble” is the snow monster featured in the 1964 “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” holiday TV special.) Other features to the holiday event included the Gingerbread Village – a display of gingerbread houses handcrafted by local participants; the Festival Express model train display that had a long line of children waiting their turn to be train conductors through a Christmas village; and displays of handcrafted ornaments, stockings, door wreaths and miniature Christmas trees. Many of the visitors said they enjoyed the displays – and the photo opportunities provided at the Festival of Trees. The fest had several “Selfie Zones” where visitors could take photos in front of a big inflatable snow globe and several other displays.