Home News Local News Palestine Mall Site of 6th Annual Festival of Trees

Palestine Mall Site of 6th Annual Festival of Trees

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The Palestine High School Alumni Association's Christmas tree won first place in the Dogwood Garden Club's Festival of Trees event, available for viewing along with 11 other decorated Christmas trees at the Palestine Mall. Courtesy Photo.

By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

PALESTINE – The corridor of the Palestine mall is “merry and bright” with the entries of the 2017 Festival of Trees, an event sponsored by the Dogwood Garden Club, standing proudly for all to admire.

“This is our sixth year,” explained club president Linda Brown. “This year, we had 12 (participants).”

Brown explained that all of the trees are decorated by local nonprofit organizations.

“We started it as a way for them to get their name out in the community,” she said. “And they get to compete with each other and win money for their organization. They are all so worthy, and we’re happy to have them participating.”

Brown was inspired to begin sponsoring the competition several years ago when she saw a similar contest being held during a vacation to Florida.

“I don’t know what they called theirs,” she said. “But I had a fit over it.”

Brown presented the idea to the other members of the garden club, who voted to begin hosting their own version of the event.

According to Brown, the entries are judged by nonpartisan individuals from the local area and have a clearly defined point system they are expected to follow.

“Some choose not to,” she said. “But we appreciate them putting up the trees. This year, one (organization) got a 100. It was probably the first. They did everything to scale.”

The aspects on which the trees are judged are as follows.

  • Creativity – 35 points
  • Interpretation of Organization Statement – 25 points
  • Organization Statement – 20 points
  • Composition – 15 points
  • Scale (size of elements in relation to one another) – 5 points

In this year’s competition, the Palestine High School Alumni Association took home the grand prize of $750. Snagging the second place award of $500 was Cars of Palestine. The Pionette Garden Club took third prize, which totaled $250 and the $200 award for fourth place was given to the Grapeland Garden Club. The Anderson County Texas Democratic Women and the Marvin Skeen Community Center of Neches each received $150 Awards of Merit.

Brown explained that the cash prizes for the competition are donated each year by Ben E. Keith Beverage Company of Palestine.

“Their general manager, Andrew Gregory, is so generous,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without Andrew.”

Brown hopes to see participation increase in future competitions, but was still “very pleased” with this year’s turnout.

“With the veterans service center in the mall, the vets get to see it, and that makes me happy,” she said. “And the (workforce) center…I’m happy that there are people coming in and out of the mall who get to see the trees.”

The Festival of Trees will be viewable to the public until shortly after Christmas.

Sarah Naron may be reached via email at snaron@messenger-news.com.