It was the shopping that drew many area residents to the newly expanded Festival of Trees.
Renee Morrison saw pictures of the arts and crafts on Facebook and was impressed enough to make the trip.
“It looked like an Atlanta market,” Morrison said as she pored over a table spread with handmade jewelry. “When I walked in my first impression was an enchanted forest.”
Heflin expanded the third annual Festival of Trees to a three-day event beginning Friday and continuing through Sunday and added a Christmas marketplace. Quite a few residents made the trip and vendors said there had been a steady stream of shoppers the first couple of hours.
Angela Williams and Kristel Walters, of Belles and Bows, took a breather about 2:30 to shop the other booths set up at the marketplace. They said they had been to Heflin shows before and always enjoyed it.
So, when they saw the festival being advertised on Facebook, they signed up.
Their table, spread with crocheted children’s hats, hair bows, crocheted animals and handmade dolls, had drawn several shoppers over the first two hours of the festival, they said.
They were impressed with the trees and the other crafters goods, they said.
“I think they’re gorgeous,” Walters said of the trees. “The band tree is adorable.”
The Cleburne County High School band tree had a tree topper fashioned from a large stuffed tiger wearing a band hat, its body wrapped around the boughs. It was one of 12 trees set up by local groups and businesses. The visitors to the festival had an opportunity to vote for their favorite tree.
Tammy Perry, director of Heflin’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the number of trees was down this year as some groups had opted to do floats for the parade on Monday. But the trees that were there were imaginative — one tree was masquerading as a snowman, another was made of tires. Another tree decorated by Heflin Tae Kwon Do, highlighted the philosophy taught at the school with plaques reading “courtesy,” “self-control” and “indomitable spirit.” Pictures of the students who inspired the tree were scattered among the branches.
The favorite tree among voters will win a cash prize to donate to a charity or if a nonprofit wins, for its own work, Perry said. The winner was scheduled to be announced at the festival on Sunday, she said.
Rebecca Cantrell and her daughter Ariana, 4, said their favorite was the tire tree decorated by Buster Miles Auto Group. Cantrell said she had come without money but planned to come back Sunday to do some shopping.
“It was super nice,” Cantrell said.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.