PALESTINE – The Palestine Chamber of Commerce celebrated the 83rd annual Dogwood Festival on Saturday.

Founded in 1938 and the longest running Dogwood festival in Texas, the event kicks off the first of three weekends of the Dogwood Celebration with locals and guests celebrating the season of beautiful Dogwood blooms of East Texas.

The fun day of festivities included an array of vendors, activities and artists scattered throughout historic downtown Palestine.

Sixty vendors were on hand selling everything from cowboy hats to dreamcatchers to artwork and salsa during the festival. Normal festival goodies, such as funnel cakes, corn dogs, turkey legs and sausage-on-a-stick were available from food vendors.

In the Kids Zone, children of all ages enjoyed bounce houses, games, gyroball, train rides, face painting and much more.

According to Palestine Chamber Events Coordinator Joli Ballew, last year’s festival was canceled due to COVID-19 and this year’s festival came with some restrictions.

“The 2020 Dogwood Festival, sadly, was canceled due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, this year we are not able to host our live musical performances and beer garden, usually located in the Oxbow Hollow, also due to COVID precautions,” she said.

“However, we are so excited that we were able to work with our city government officials to make this year’s Festival possible for our community,” she continued.

A key attraction is the 200-acre Davey Dogwood Park which includes a fairy trail. The park dazzles in beauty with the white blossoms of the Dogwood trees and many other native area wildflowers.

Visitors could enjoy the scenic beauty of the Dogwood trees by driving through the park, taking one of the walking trails or visiting one of the picnic areas.

The Texas State Railroad offered a four-hour long Dogwood Brunch Train excursion which included a three-course meal where guests experienced a birds-eye view of nature’s springtime show. The train will also run the excursion on Sunday.

For more information on the Dogwood Trails Festival, contact the Palestine Chamber of Commerce at 903-729-6066 or visit texasdogwoodtrails.com.