Preparations underway for Festival of Tress at Museum of East Texas

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Christmas is over a month away but theholiday spirit has already in invaded the Museum of East Texas.

Preparations are already underway tocontinue the 20 year tradition of Festival of Trees.

"It's been a great thing for the museum andfor the community and its gives so many people the opportunity to honorsomeone," said Martha Chandler, Tree Decorator.

Last year 105 trees filled the museum halls and gallery and organizersare expecting to top that number this year.

Decorators ValerieEpps and Martha Chandler say its takes about three weeks to get everything done.

"It's really afeeling of accomplishment and pride because you've done something from yourheart," said Epps.

The duo has had a tree in the festival for three years atradition they've started in honor of Chandler's son who died in 2006.

"I became aware ofthe trees and wanted to do something in his memory in honor of him," saidChandler.

"I loved her son, itsgives me a feeling of pride that I've done something for her and for him," saidEpps.

The team says they haven't finished creating the tree justyet, but no matter the decorations love is always the theme.

"The first year wedid it, it was mostly a nature type theme and then last year we decided tocover it in doves, white doves and that was beautiful," said Epps.

And once their tree is complete and festival of tree beginsthey hope to give onlookers a glimpse of hard work straight from the heart.

"I truly hope thatwhen they look at our tree that they get a sense of inspiration," said Epps.

Everydecorated tree is donated by a family or a local business , all to benefitchildren with a love for art. The money raised from the festival goes towardsproviding scholarships for art camps during the summer.
Overthe next few weeks organizers and decorators will be putting the treestogether.

Volunteers are more than welcome todrop in and lend a hand.

The Festival of Trees will open November 22.

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