With the announcement of the Art Contest winner, the Paducah Civic Beautification Council kicks off its 59th Annual Dogwood Trail Celebration.
Caroline Blackmon, a fourth-grade student at Clark Elementary School, won the contest with a freehand drawing of three dogwood blossoms.
The art contest was open to third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students from Paducah’s three elementary schools: Clark, McNabb, and Morgan. The contest was sponsored by the Paducah Power System.
Blackmon won $100 for winning the art contest, and his artwork will adorn posters around town advertising the Dogwood Trail.
“I found a photo of (the flowers) and thought I might want to do this,” she said. “I thought I’d do it a little differently, so I did it a different way, and I thought it looked good.”
Blackmon is a student in Shanice Frazier’s art class, and said learning in this class is “always fun.”
“She’s always so nice to us and I love her inspiration,” Blackmon said. “His class is like a whole new world where you can just paint and have fun.”
Frazier said Blackmon is one of his most artistic students.
“She always comes to me with wonderful ideas,” she said. “When I give an invite or an open art project, she always comes up and says, ‘Can I do this or can I do that? Can I change a bit?’ She always has really inspiring ideas on how she wants to take her artistic project forward.
The award ceremony for the art contest and the illuminated trees will take place on May 10 at City Hall. Three dogwood prizes, three redbud prizes and three azalea prizes will be awarded along with the first prize in the art contest.
Paducah Civic Beautification Council member Monica Feiler coordinated the art contest.
“The Dogwood Trail started in 1964 — that’s when I was in high school — and it was only two blocks then,” Feiler said. “It became what it is today: 16 kilometers of beautiful and beautiful trees.
“Each year we try to bring in new ideas and new ways to promote the trail. We want to keep this trail alive, and what better than to have an art contest or something to get the kids involved? »
This is the second year of the Dogwood Trail Art Contest, which began in 2020. That year, art submission was hampered by COVID-19 concerns, and the contest didn’t even took place last year for the same reason.
“This year, we’re really going to do what we want to do: at the town hall with the presentation and the art exhibition and by exhibiting the children’s works,” Feiler said. “It’s going to be great. I’m really excited.”
More than 200 students participated in this year’s art competition.
There is no set date for the Dogwood Trail for natural reasons, Feiler said.
“The Dogwood Trail starts when Mother Nature says it’s ready,” she said. “Trying to predict when (tree flowering) is going to happen is almost impossible because of the cold snaps and little frosts that come and change everything.”
“We have a feeling it’s going to be around Easter (April 17) this year,” said Jackie Smith, chair of the Paducah Civic Beautification Board. “The flowers are pretty tight right now.
“Sometimes you can judge and predict by towns further south, where their dogwoods are. We know those in Memphis are starting to open up a bit, and we’re usually a few weeks behind Memphis.
Feiler said the Dogwood Trail will begin this year on Fountain Avenue. Participants can follow the signs on the side of the road. A map of the trail is available on the Paducah Civic Beautification Board Facebook page or at paducahky.gov/dogwood-trail.
“We are the longest uninterrupted lighted trail in the United States,” Smith said. “We have received several national awards for this. We’ve been featured in national publications, and we’re actually at the Library of Congress.
“In the year 2000, we were placed there as a local heritage for folklore. It is quite important and we are proud of it.
Smith said maintaining the tradition involves others planting dogwoods in their gardens.
To help with that, the James Sanders Nursery will be holding an all-day dogwood sale on Saturday. Trees will be sold at 15% off and planting instructions will be provided.
“I hope not only people who are on the marked trail light their dogwoods this time around, but also people all over town,” Smith said. “We always award off-track awards as well as on-track awards. If you are not on the Dogwood trail, go there and light your tree.
Rewards include a designation sign as well as a cash reward.
The next Dogwood Trail event will be the Dogwood Trail Bike Ride, sponsored by BikeWorld, Bikes & Fitness. It will take place at 2:30 p.m. on April 10 and will begin at the company at 809 Joe Clifton Drive.
The ride takes 60-90 minutes and winds through featured dogwood quarters, returning to the bike shop, where a dinner will be held on the grounds.
There is no entrance fee for the bike ride and helmets are required.
Dogwood Trail’s first celebration took place the week of April 15–22, 1964, when the Paducah Civic Beautification Board called on residents of Sycamore Drive to light dogwood trees in their yards.
From Buckner Lane to Blandville Road, the beauty of local dogwood trees was highlighted throughout the week by residents who volunteered to take part in the event.
The idea for a local Dogwood Trail celebration came from Alice Hite “Dolly” McNutt, the former mayor of Paducah who was then chair of the Civic Beautification Council. She had seen a similar celebration in Knoxville, Tennessee.