This year’s Festival of Trees, hosted by the Dogwood Garden Club, is dressing up downtown Palestine.

For eight years, the Festival of Trees has been hosted in the Palestine Mall. For its ninth year, the trees will be placed in businesses in downtown Palestine.

Having seen a similar event to Festival of Tree in Florida nine years ago, garden club member Linda Jean Brown brought the idea back to her garden club.

“We are excited that downtown and old town merchants will be showcasing the trees in their windows,” Brown said. “This would be a good walking tour for a family or a group of friends, with most of the trees in store fronts on Oak and Main Street.”

The Festival of Trees is a competition among local non-profits, hosted by the Dogwood Garden Club at Christmas, to help them earn money by decorating a Christmas tree with a theme or message.

This year there are 17 trees adorning the window-fronts of businesses who volunteered to host a tree. The non-profit organizations began decorating their trees this week.

While they were originally going to draw for placement, Brown said they ended up having to assign spaces.

“We quickly realized that trees needed to be placed in the space that would work best for them,” Brown said. “It’s been more challenging than in the past. We have had to measure spaces, window fronts and trees to see where each would fit and be best showcased.”

Hosting business owners are excited about the buzz the trees have created already.

“Our trees have been up for two days and people are stopping in and taking photos already,” said Sandra Vasquaz, owner of Warren’s Barber Shop. “These trees are beautiful and as an added bonus I don’t have to drag out my decorations. We are holiday ready. It’s all be taken care of.”

These trees are in competition for monetary prizes. A total of $2,000 will be awarded to four of the top chosen trees. The trees will be judged on a scale of points they receive when deciding how to decorate their tree for the competition. Andrew Gregory, General Manager of Ben E. Keith Co. Beverage Distributors, is the underwriter for this event.

“This is the most we’ve ever had and they are all very unique,” Brown said. “I’m so glad I’m not the one that’s going to be judging. These organizations have really gotten creative this year.”

The members of the Dogwood Garden Club of Palestine have been beautifying Palestine and Anderson County for the past 80 years.

They continue to decorate the Christmas tree at the rotunda inside the Anderson County Courthouse, along with their USA and Texas themed Christmas trees in the lobby of the Annex for the holiday season.

The trees will be on display the month of December.

If you have any questions, please email ljbrown3264@windstream.net or contact Linda Jean Brown at 903-478-3264.

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