By CHERIL VERNON
The Dogwood Garden Club plans to fill the Palestine Mall with a “Festival of Trees” for Christmas this year.
“I got the idea when my husband David and I went to Florida last Christmas,” DGC President Linda J. Brown said. “It was done outside of a strip mall there and I thought it was so amazing — nothing extravagant, just simple and beautiful.”
The “Festival of Trees” will not only beautify the Palestine Mall for Christmas, but it also will help non-profit organizations have a chance to win cash for their organization.
“The garden club members wanted another way to help the community and brighten up an area with decorated trees. In addition, they wanted to reward these organizations for their efforts. After all, ‘tis the season for sharing and giving’ and this is our way of giving back to our community,” Brown said.
Individuals or groups can depict their non-profit organization by decorating a tree.
The Dogwood Garden Club will award cash prizes to the top three winners — first place, $750; second place, $500; and third place, $250. The public will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite.
“We’ve already got a good response from the community and there is no cost to participate. There is a limit to the first 20 organizations that have completed the application forms along with a current copy of their non-profit status and have mailed in by the Oct. 30 deadline,” Brown said.
Each organization will be responsible for their tree (artificial or live, 10 feet maximum height), all of the necessary supplies such as scissors, wire, step ladders, etc. and all decorations.
Some of the groups that have already signed up to participate include Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Trinity Valley; BARC, The Humane Society; Cars of Palestine (Potties in the Park project for Davey Dogwood Park); Rotary Club of Palestine; and the Anderson County Master Gardeners Association.
Assignment of tree placements will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 30. Decorating will begin immediately following at 11 a.m. and ending no later than 7 p.m.
The public is invited to the lighting of the Festival of Trees from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Palestine Mall before the Christmas parade to vote for their favorite tree. Judging by the public also will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 at the mall. The winners will be announced that evening.
In addition, the garden club will hold its traditional Hospitality and Bazaar event in the mall to coincide with the voting events. The bazaar will consist of homemade desserts, jellies, arts and crafts, all of which will be available for sale.
“I think it will be fun to get the community together to do something positive while getting ready for the Christmas season,” Brown said.
The DGC has been beautifying Palestine and Anderson County for the past 72 years. The members continue to decorate Christmas trees at the Anderson County Courthouse and the Courthouse Annex for the holiday season.
The Palestine Mall is located at 2000 S. Loop 256.
For information, contact Brown at 903-478-3264. Leave a message to be returned if there is no answer.