By CHERIL VERNON
On Saturday, the public is invited to view and vote for their favorite of 18 uniquely decorated Christmas trees featured in the Dogwood Garden Club’s Festival of Trees at the Palestine Mall.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring the family out, let the children come see the beautiful trees and then vote on your favorite one,” DGC President Linda J. Brown said Thursday.
The Festival of Trees judging will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the mall.
While the trees will be on display through Dec. 27, Saturday will be the last voting opportunity for the public.
Eighteen local non-profit organizations participated in the Festival of Trees event by decorating their own tree. The organization that gets the most votes by 6 p.m. Saturday for its tree will win $750. Second-place will win $500 and third-place will win $250.
“We had over 200 come out to vote last Saturday. We were real pleased with the turnout,” Brown said. “We hope even more will come out this weekend and see how beautiful all of the trees really are. It’s really brightened up the mall.”
Thanks to Bon Appetit Coffee Shop & Bakery located in the Palestine Mall, the public has been able to vote during the week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. as well.
“We want to thank all the participants for their creativity and uniqueness. They really outdid themselves,” Brown said.
The following organizations are participating: 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.
For example, the Cars of Palestine’s tree features ornaments made from toilet paper as a way to draw attention to their “Potties in the Park” project for Davey Dogwood Park. The Anderson County Master Gardeners’ tree features ornaments made from nature. The Mothers of PreSchoolers (MOPS) tree is filled with baby socks, bottles and other baby items, while the Champions for Children tree features ornaments made by local children. The tree skirt features photos of the children making the ornaments.
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 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 and crafts, gift baskets and other unique items for sale.
“Come Christmas shop here for easy gifts that are already wrapped and ready to go,” Brown said. “One thing our club did was make postcards using dried flowers from our gardens.”
The bazaar is the club’s fund-raiser.
“This helps us raise money for the cash prizes, and bottom line, helps the community by helping these organizations,” Brown said.
Due to the success of the event, Dogwood Garden Club more than likely will make the Festival of Trees an annual event.
“There will be some guideline changes as we see ways to improve it for next year,” Brown said. “And there is room for more trees and plenty of outlets.”
Brown thanked the Dogwood Garden Club members for their assistance.
“It’s been a group effort,” Brown said. “ I appreciate them allowing me to use my vision in our community. I appreciate them more than they will ever know.”
The Palestine Mall is located at 2000 S. Loop 256.