Poet Joyce Kilmer would find plenty of inspiration at The Joe Center for the Arts.


The “Festival of Trees” exhibit opened with a reception Friday night to offer a showcase for the creative talents of the community.


“There was real community to this show,” said Richard Trahan of The Joe board. “People just had so much fun coming in and decorating together.


“Some people would see what others had done and leave to go get more decorations for their trees.”


Adding an unusual element to the exhibit is that many of the “artists” of the trees do not necessarily haunt art galleries.


The folks at Cut N Up assembled a tree that 1,000 words would not begin to describe (let your imagination conjure what can be found in a salon) and Buy Rite used all the many things to be found in a local drugstore, especially plenty of pill bottles, to decorate their tree.


“The corporate people from Buy Rite were so interested they came down to see what the local store had done,” Trahan said.


In total, the exhibit attracted 19 entries, not all of whom made trees.


There were several stunning wood carvings, table-size, of what life looked like in Charles Dickens’ time; one individual created a Christmas quilt and another a holiday wreath.


All this month, the artists have convened when The Joe was not open, typically on Sunday, to craft and decorate their tree.


The response ranged from individuals to businesses to the South Gulf County Volunteer Fire Department.


“It was a lot of fun,” said Roni Coppock who with husband Steven assembled their tree in a single Sunday.


There were, however, she acknowledged Friday night, a bit of disagreement whether they had sufficient ornaments.


There were all variety of imaginative touches.


Windolf Construction used wood planks for tree limbs, various machine and construction parts and tools for decoration and ornaments and topped it off with garland of nails.


There was also the touching.


The South Gulf Fire Department’s “decorations” included a pair of firefighter boots to remember those who have lost their lives serving their communities.


And one tree, among those put up for silent auction, was something of a tribute by a widow to her recently-deceased husband.


It was the only submission that was anonymous.


Fishing lures, of all shapes and sizes, and history may we add, were the ornaments and at the foot of the tree was what appeared to be an original Mickey Mouse plastic fishing rod.


“We are pretty pleased with the response,” Trahan said. “There has been a real community about this exhibit. We hope to make it a continual thing.”


In addition to the trees, there was also a silent auction in conjunction with the exhibit.


Some of the trees, as mentioned, are in the auction and folks could likely fill a wish list or two via the array of items, with artistic flair, up for auction.


“Some trees were put in the silent auction and others will become displays at home or business after the show runs,” Trahan said.


The “Festival of Trees” will be open 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. ET Wednesdays through Saturdays through Dec. 14.


The schedule of events for this Saturday include Santa’s Workshop Kid’s Craft Corner 11 a.m. until 12 p.m.; Creating a Holiday Centerpiece with Judy Scott 2-3:30 p.m. and Zach McFarland providing live music 5-6 p.m. ET.


There will be other activities throughout the life of “Festival of Trees” exhibit and The Star will public a weekly list.


All proceeds from “The Festival of Trees” help promote The Joe’s mission to educate, exhibit, partner and inspire through the arts.