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Welcome Center's Festival of Trees a feast for the eyes

By Rebecca Herman
The weather in December has been unseasonably warm this year and the area has even seen record breaking temperatures. These temperatures and the lack of snow can make it difficult to get into the holiday spirit, unless you live in Johnson County. Johnson County has been keeping the holiday season alive with one activity after another, even though the weather does not seem to be in a festive mood. At the Johnson County Welcome Center, the Christmas spirit is alive and thriving with the “Festival of Trees” display, which has 25 decorated trees and a Christmas village display.
Each year organizations throughout the county and clubs in the school system decorate a Christmas tree at the Welcome Center free of charge. The decorations on the trees can range from coupons to memorials for lost loved ones. People can stop in to vote for their favorite Christmas tree which could win one of three cash prizes: $100 for first place, $75 for second, $50 for third, and one tree will be given the title of Honorary Children’s Choice Award.
People have been steadily coming in to the Welcome Center to vote for their favorite tree all month and the decision will be a close one. The most talked about trees seem to be the senior citizen Christmas tree which is covered in rolls of old timey hymnal sheets, and trees decorated by the children in the county such as the 4-H Christmas tree which is decorated with handmade ornaments from 4-H students. Many children have come by the Welcome Center eagerly looking for the ornaments they made which are proudly displayed on the Christmas trees.
Each tree is unique to the organization that it represents. For instance, the Tennessee Sunrise Quilt Guild’s tree is made with hand quilted ornaments, the Roan Creek Campground’s tree has natural elements and woodland creatures, and the Danny Herman Trucking Company’s tree has a model 18-wheeler hanging from its branches.
For the rest of the story pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.