The blooming of dogwoods signals the arrival of spring in this town, attracting tourists eager to see nature’s show and also to participate in the many events that make up the Texas Dogwood Trails Celebration.
This year marks a milestone of the celebration’s 75th anniversary.
The main events are this weekend’s Dogwood Trails Festival, food, entertainment and a parade, all organized by Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce.
Numerous other attractions are on tap all three weekends arranged by several other organizations and businesses.
“It’s a true community effort to put on this celebration, It’s an extensive list of events and activities going on,” Meghan Hill, the chamber’s executive director, said.
A new web site, www.texasdogwoodtrails.com, displays information about the long lineup of festivities during the celebration, souvenirs and give-aways.
Visitors also can learn on the website about the status of the dogwood blooms by clicking on “dogwood bloom watch.” Information and brochures are also available at Palestine Visitor’s Bureau, 825 Spring St., or by calling 1-800-659-3484 or 903-723-3014. Another source of information is the Dogwood Trails Celebration Face book page.
A major site for viewing blooming dogwood will be the Davey Dogwood Park off Loop 256.
Throughout the celebration a scavenger hunt for treasures will run through March 31. “Hunter Hints” may be obtained at the visitor center, Redlands Hotel, Dickens Jewelry and Oxbow Bakery.
Palestine Farmers Market will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at 813 W. Spring.
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. with about 60 entries. In recognition of the celebration’s 75th anniversary, the parade theme is “Diamonds & Dogwoods: A Dynamic Duo.” Parade entries are asked to illustrate any famous duo in history, such as Batman and Robin or Anthony and Cleopatra. The first place float will win $300.
The parade will begin at the Anderson County Courthouse and circle through Old Town and New Town and back to the courthouse.
Besides featuring arts and crafts, the festival will have a Kids Zone with a rock wall, inflatables, bungee jumping, bull ride, pony rides, duck derby, small train, coloring contest, ping pong toss and other activities.
Two stages will spotlight free live entertainment.
Performers on the Saw Dust Stage in Old Town will be Craig Wayne Boyd, noon to 2 p.m., and Brandon Rhyder, 2:30 to 4 p.m. Rhyder performs songs like “You Can’t Outdrink the Truth” and “Nowhere USA.” Boyd is a country artist from Dallas who has played more than 1,000 shows.
A unique mobile outdoor bar will be set up near the Saw Dust Stage by Ben E. Keith Beverages with seating and big screen TVs.
The Family Stage downtown will feature the Deep South Band from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The band plays country music with southern rock. When the band takes breaks, Professor QB, a clown and ventriloquist, will entertain crowds at noon, 1:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.
Professor QB is a trained, professional entertainer who has performed at the Houston Astrodome and many shows, carnivals, libraries, banquets, etc.
Another major event this weekend is the 28th annual Cars of Palestine Car Show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on Spring Street next to Kroger’s Grocery. It will show about 150 classic, antique and special interest autos. Included in the display will be about 50 Mustangs from the North Texas Mustang Club.
On sale at the Palestine Visitor Information Center and at downtown businesses will be the commemorative Dogwood Trails mason jars for $10 each that were produced at the old Palestine glass plant in 1985.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church tours, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 3-5 p.m. Sunday. The church will also sponsor its fifth annual spring festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. including a bake sale, kid’s zone, burgers, chips, fish fry, Mexican food and the Folkloric Dancers at noon;
Pictures with the Easter Bunny at Lee Loveless Photography, 101 W. Oak, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday;
Order of the Eastern Star serving grilled sausage on a stick with potato salad, pickle, bread and drink for $7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday;
Art sale, Texas Art Depot, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday;
Granny Muffin Wines wine tasting and cheese samples, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, 301 W. Oak St.;
Sweet Dreams Winery wine tasting, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday;
Howard House Museum tours, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday;
Texas Vineyard & Smokehaus serves German sausage with the trimmings or on a stick, noon to 6:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday;
Museum for East Texas Culture open house to celebrate its 30th anniversary, 1-4 p.m. Sunday;
Dogwood Trails Gospel Music Festival, 2-4 p.m. Saturday, North Jackson Baptist Church, 1213 N. Jackson;
Old Pilgrim Church tours with gingerbread and coffee served under the arbor trees, 2-4 p.m. Sunday;
Excursions today through Sunday on the Texas State Railroad departing from the Palestine and Rusk depots. Reservations may be made by calling 877-726-7245 or visiting the web site www.texasstaterr.com;
Anderson County Master Gardeners annual tree sale, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the lot behind the Federal Building, 101 E. Oak;
Communitywide garage sale 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Palestine Herald Press, 519 N. Elm St.