If you’d like to get a jump on the Thanksgiving Day parades, you can head to eastern Iowa today (Saturday). A holiday parade in downtown Davenport that includes 24 giant helium balloons is part of the Quad Cities Arts Festival of Trees. Craig Woodard is co-director of the event and says the balloons are a big draw. He says they balloons come from the same supplier of the Macey’s Parade and the Rose Bowl Parade, and he says they have most of the big name balloons. Woodard says the parade draws lots of interest. He says they had close to 50-thousand people watch the parade last year. The parade begins at 10 o’clock this morning. Woodard says the main festival attraction is the lineup of trees and other fundraiser items. He says they have 132 trees, stockings, hearth and home designs, gingerbread designs that have been donated to the festival. They’re displayed in the Quad Cities River Center and all can be purchased. All the trees and displays are donated to the event. The festival has been named one of the top 10 festivals in the country by a national organization that judges such things. He says they’re very proud of that. He says they’re tops in number of entries and the length of the time they run. Woodard says the festival has grown from a simple beginning in 1985. He says it started with a small group of women who wanted to raise money for the arts. Woodard says the naysayers said they’d never be able to do it, but he says it’s still going. The festival runs through November 30th.
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