WE CARE's 2020 winning tree

WE CARE's 2020 winning tree

Christmas is right around the corner and that means it’s the season for our non-profits to get creative for the Dogwood Garden Club’s 11th Annual Festival of Trees Competition.

“We are excited to once again offer non-profit organizations the chance to compete using their creativity and unusual ideas to decorate a Christmas tree depicting what their organizations statement is with other non-profit organizations for cash prizes,” said Event Chair Linda Jean Brown. “We are thrilled that downtown merchants will be showcasing the trees in their windows once again this year.”

Having seen a similar event in Florida twelve years ago, Brown brought the idea back to the Dogwood Garden Club and it has been a great way to get organization's name out in the public as well as involvement for the community as a whole.

According to Brown, Andrew Gregory, General Manager of Ben E Keith Beers has generously sponsored this competition each year, awarding the cash prizes to the top winners. This year, a total of $2,000 will be given out to four of the top chosen trees. First place will be awarded $1,000, second will receive $500, third place will be given $300 and $200 will go to the organization receiving Honorable Mention.

“The public will be amazed at the imagination that the organization members come up with to depict their organizations’ themes and/or mission statements,” Brown said. “This contest is not about having the most beautiful tree. The trees are judged on a scale of points located in the guideline forms which each non-profit participant receives. Judging by qualified judges is done based solely on the scale of points.”

Trees will be judged on the following Scale of Points:

Organization Statement - 20 points

Interpretation of Statement - 25 points

Creativity (choice of components) - 35 points

Composition (putting together of parts to form a whole) - 15 points

Scale (pertaining to size relationships of components to each other) - 5 points

Deadline for this year’s applicants to return their application is Nov. 1. This competition is limited to the first 20 applications in order received.

Each participating organization will be responsible for all of its own tools, supplies, decorations and write-up. Pre-lit trees must meet city fire codes. Only U.L. approved lights, new lights are preferred, that stay on even if one bulb burns out. Each connection must be wrapped with electrical tape. Ornaments, non-breakable preferred, should be secured on the tree with wire, ribbon or glue. Decorations must be flame retardant or non-combustible.

“You will be displaying your organizations tree inside the windows of downtown shops,” Brown said. “You will be working with the shop personnel. The space must be clean and all debris must be picked up before you leave the premises after your tree is decorated. And I recommend each organization have a write up with your tree so visitors will be able to identify with your mission or statement. Your tree should depict your organization’s statement.”

Drawing for tree placement will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. Participants will meet at the Palestine Visitor’s Center on Spring Street for the drawing, unless other arrangements have been made. The non-profit organizations will begin decorating immediately following in their respective store. No organization is allowed to contact the store owners and ask permission to stage your tree there. This is to be done by the Festival of Trees organizer and committee.

The trees will be on display throughout the month of December.

A representative will be required to be present at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Visitor’s Center on Spring Street for the announcement of the winners.

Organizations are allowed to sale their trees. You are allowed to post a sign along with the asking price attached to the tree. The sell will be between you and the buyer. After the judging of the event, the organization’s representatives will be allowed to dismantle it for the buyer to take. However, if your tree happens to be a winner we ask that it remain until January 2, 2023.

The members of the Dogwood Garden Club of Palestine have been beautifying Palestine and Anderson County for the past 82 years with annual projects that include decorating the Christmas tree at the rotunda inside the Anderson County Courthouse and two themed Christmas trees in the lobby of the Anderson County Annex for the holiday season.

If your organization would like to participate in this event please contact Linda Jean Brown at

Ljbrown3264@windstream.net to receive the guidelines and application form.

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