By CHERIL VERNON
Dogwood Garden Club will transform the Palestine Mall into a “Festival of Trees” during the month of December as a way to help non-profit organizations win cash to help with their charities.
Eighteen local non-profit organizations are participating in the event by decorating a Christmas tree at the mall today.
The public is invited to attend the “Lighting of the Trees” event and first public voting opportunity from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
“We encourage people to come out to the mall before the parade, view all of the trees to get into the Christmas spirit and vote on their favorite,” Dogwood Garden Club President Linda J. Brown said. “The handbell choir from Palestine’s First United Methodist Church will be there to set the mood for those in attendance.”
The organization that wins first place for its best-decorated Christmas tree will win $750. Second place gets $500 and third place gets $250.
“The community is encouraged to come out and show its support of their favorite organization and tree,” Brown said.
In addition, the garden club ladies will have a room set up at the mall for their traditional hospitality offering wassail and cookies for those who have come to vote. The club’s fundraiser, the annual bazaar, will include homemade baked goods (cakes, pies, cookies, candies, jellies and etc.) along with arts, crafts and other unique items for sale.
The public also can vote from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 at the mall. The top three winners will be announced after the votes are tallied between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the mall.
“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.
The following organizations are participating in the event by decorating a tree: CASA of Trinity Valley; BARC, The Humane Society; Cars of Palestine; Rotary Club of Palestine; Anderson County Master Gardeners; DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution); Xi Alpha Gamma Lambda chapter of Beta Sigma Phi; Pionette Garden Club; Relay for Life; Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS); Lakeview Methodist Conference Center; Palestine High School Alumni Association; Anderson County Texas Democratic Women; Anderson County Gateway Community Partners; NAACP; Marvin Skeen Community Center; Anderson County Arts Council; and Anderson County Champions for Children.
“The members of these organizations have been working tirelessly creating decorations and ornaments for their trees that can depict their organization,” Brown said. “We extend an invitation to everyone to come out to the mall and see who and what your local organizations contribute their time, money and efforts to and also to cast your vote for your favorite tree.”
The trees will be displayed throughout the mall until Dec. 27.
“Bring your families to see this amazing event,” Brown said.
In the spirit of giving, Rick and Michaelene Sparks, owners of MR and MS Trees donated Christmas trees from their tree farm to some of the organizations participating in the event.
For information about the Festival of Trees, call Brown at 903-478-3264.