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Festival of Trees' 'Helium Balloon Parade' celebrates 30th anniversary

The yearly event is the largest helium balloon parade in the Midwest.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Quad City Arts Festival held its 30th annual Festival of Trees Helium Balloon Parade in downtown Davenport on Nov. 19. It is the largest of its kind in the Midwest.

More than a hundred people braced the cold, wind and snow to see the balloons and floats as they passed by.

The parade started on Perishing Avenue and East Third Street and went through Brady Street, Main Street, Harrison Street, Ripley Street and Scott Street before heading south towards 2nd Street and looping back east until stopping at Iowa Street. 

"This is a tradition. No matter how cold it is, we'll be here," said parade watcher Trae Parker. "Today we were looking forward to the floats, the big balloons like always, then we just came down here, enjoyed the nice cold weather, some cider, and the parade."

And as tradition goes, when it snows: 

"Nothing like a hot cup of something when your hands are cold," said Jeremiah Birkholz, an employee at Boozie's Bar & Grill in Davenport.

RELATED: Festival of Trees returns Nov. 19-27

Birkholz was working at a pop-up food stall during the parade, selling donuts and cookies, as well as hot cider and hot chocolate.

"It warms their hearts," Birkholz said. "Everybody gets a little smile on their face."

The owner of the establishment, Monica McKown, who was also outside helping the stall, said she's had the stall out before during parades, enticing future customers to stop by. 

"We set this up a few years ago for people during all the holiday parades downtown," McKown said. "It's very cold out so why not warm up with some hot apple cider or hot chocolate?"

And for some parade goers like Parker, he said the stall is where it should be, despite the cold.

"I think the stand is perfect. They're making sure everyone is fed and warm."

The Festival of Trees runs through Nov. 27 and more information about it can be found by clicking/tapping here.

RELATED: Mariah Carey to have 'childhood dream' come true at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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