By CHERIL VERNON
With temperatures expected in the high 70s, things are looking sunny and bright today for the opening weekend of the 75th Annual Dogwood Trails Celebration.
A parade, downtown festival, live music and activities for all ages are planned.
Festivities will kick off with the Dogwood Trails Parade at 10 a.m. today with the theme “Dogwoods and Diamonds: A Dynamic Duo.” Parade participants were encouraged to dress up as a type of famous duo — current day, past or present.
“Traditionally, a 75th anniversary is the diamond anniversary which is why we chose the ‘Dogwoods and Diamonds’ theme,” Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Meghan Hill told the Herald-Press. “We think it will be a really neat tradition to be a part of it, a very family-oriented event where the kids can play in the Kids Zone, dad can listen to the music and mom can shop downtown — something for everybody.”
This year’s parade will travel a special route starting at the Anderson County Courthouse and heading down Crawford Street, going through Old Town, turning left on Sycamore Street then right on Main Street. Judging of floats will be held in front of the Chamber of Commerce building.
The Dogwood Trails Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Palestine with arts and crafts and food vendors, live music and activities for children.
More than 75 vendors will sell everything from hair bows to handmade purses to artwork and salsa during the festival. Normal festival fare such as funnel cakes, corn dogs, turkey legs, sausage-on-a-stick and more will be available from various food vendors.
Featured on the Family Stage will be the band Deep South at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. with Professor QB the Clown to perform with shows at Noon, 1:15 and 2:45 p.m.
On the Sawdust Stage in The Hollow in Old Town, live music will include Craig Wayne Boyd performing from Noon to 2 p.m. and Brandon Rhyder performing from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Ben E. Keith is sponsoring the events on this stage and will be bringing a mobile Bud Light bar. Green beer will be available to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early.
In the Kids Zone, children of all ages can enjoy inflatables, obstacle courses, bungee jump, Mind Winder, pony rides, mini train rides, dunking booth, duck derby, mechanical bull, rock wall and more.
More than 150 classic, antique and special-interest cars are expected to be on display during the Cars of Palestine’s 28th annual Car Show today.
The car show will be held downtown on Spring Street near Kroger and behind First Presbyterian Church from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — within walking distance to the Dogwood Trails Festival.
The North Texas Mustang Club is expected to bring about 50 Mustangs to the show — and many will be participating in the Dogwood Trails Parade before the show starts.
Cost for spectators is $3. Children 11 and under are admitted free.
Admission to get into the Dogwood Trails Festival gates is $1. Children 12 and under can get in free. Proceeds from the gate charge go to local non-profit organizations.
Plant a Dogwood
In an ongoing effort to protect and nurture Davey Dogwood Park and the tradition of the Dogwood Trails Celebration, members of the community and Dogwood Trails Celebration visitors are invited to Davey Dogwood Park today to plant dogwood trees.
The planting project, taking place from Noon to 4 p.m., is the result of a partnership between Anderson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joey Hill and the Palestine Economic Development Corp.
For today’s reforestation event, officials have designated specified planting locations that have been selected and marked with orange flags. Once participants select a place to plant a tree, they will receive GPS coordinates so they can locate their tree and check its progress year after year.
Those who participate in the tree planting also will be entered to win a diamond that will be given away at the end of the day in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Dogwood Trails.
For more information about the Dogwood Trails Celebration, visit www.texasdogwoodtrails.com for a complete list of events or call the Palestine Visitor Information Center at 903-723-3014.