By MARY RAINWATER
Members of Dogwood Garden Club of Palestine are continuing preparations for its newest fundraiser, the “Festival of Trees,” with many nonprofit organizations signing up to participate in the holiday tree decorating event.
The festival, taking place at the Palestine Mall, allows organizations to decorate a tree with ornaments related to their charity. Members of the community will judge the trees and the winner will receive a cash prize for their organization.
“Many organizations have made this idea become a reality in the efforts to fill the Palestine Mall with a ‘Festival of Trees’ during the month of December,” garden club member Linda Brown said. “The members of these organizations have been working tirelessly making decorations and ornaments for their trees that depict their organization.”
Participating organizations include: 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 and Leadership Academy.
The trees will be placed throughout the mall at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, with decorating beginning immediately afterwards.
Judging and voting — done by all members of the community — will begin on Saturday, Dec. 1 immediately following a “Lighting of the Trees” ceremony taking place from 3 to 5 p.m. Voting continues throughout the following week.
“To get everyone in the Christmas Spirit,” Brown said, “we encourage everyone to go to the Christmas Parade at 7 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 1).”
Tree winners — first, second and third place — will be announced between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 following the Dogwood Garden Club’s fundraiser, their annual bazaar, taking place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a room set up at the mall.
“The garden club will have its traditional hospitality offering of wassail and cookies for those who have come out to vote,” Brown said. “The bazaar will consist of homemade baked goods (cakes, pies, cookies, candies, jellies and etc.) along with arts, crafts and other items for sale.”
The trees will be displayed throughout the Mall until Thursday, Dec. 27.
“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,” Brown said, “and also to cast your vote for your favorite tree.”
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org