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Families turn out to kick off the holiday season in the Quad Cities

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DAVENPORT, Iowa — Both sides of the Mississippi River kicked off the holiday season in the Quad Cities with the Quad City Arts Festival of Trees and The Lighting of the Commons.

"It’s kind of like Christmas on steroids," said Michelle Cowell, a resident of Waterloo, Iowa who brought her sons, Liam and Graden to the Festival of Trees at the River Center in downtown Davenport on Saturday, November 19, 2016.

Michelle and her brother Cory don't live in the Quad Cites anymore but make a point to come back for the Festival of trees every year to visit their mom, Kathy Meier.

"My dad loved the holidays and loved having everyone together and we always come back and just kind of remember my dad," said Michelle.

Hundreds of people walked through the Festival of Trees.

"Just seeing all the different decorations, just how people celebrate the holidays it's peoples different interpretations of what it means to them," said Nate Mulder, of Rock Island who checked out the Christmas trees with his son, Thomas and his wife Kim.

The Quad City Arts Festival of Trees is open November 20 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. November 20 is Military Day - military families get $2 off admission tickets with I.D. November 21, 22, and 23 the festival is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, but reopens for November 25 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

November 26 is Family Day - $1 off all admission. The final day of the festival is November 27, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hundreds more gathered in downtown Moline for The Lighting of the Commons at the John Deere Pavilion.

"My mom's never been, my brother has never been, so I said let's come down here and check it out," said Eric Bounting, a resident of Coal Valley, Illinois who went to the Lighting of the Commons on Saturday evening with his family, including his son, Caiden who got to meet Santa outside the pavilion.

"I asked for a truck and a helicopter," said Caiden.

The Lighting of the Commons is an entirely free event. Inside the pavilion, people escaped the chilly weather and got to check out John Deere tractors.

"We're here today because we did this last year and we really like getting out into the community and John Deere is a huge part of the Moline community," said Olivia Fron, a Quad City Mallards Ice Girl who spent the afternoon passing out Mallards tickets inside the John Deere Pavilion.

The Christmas lights were switched on just after 6 p.m. and were followed up with a fire works show.