WINTERS– With the leaves falling off of the trees, the wind blowing and an overall feeling of the winter around the corner, the Rock Hotel, in Winters, Texas opened last Saturday, November 24 the annual Christmas tree exhibit, now under the name of “Rock Hotel Classic Christmas.”

Over 20 originally decorated Christmas trees are on display for everyone to enjoy. This year, for the first time, the Christmas tree exhibit was held in conjunction with an art exhibit featuring the works of local and area artists.

Oils and watercolors, painted China and drawings were there to greet the visitors, along with the originally themed Christmas trees.

Art in the exhibit included oils, watercolors and acrylics by Eloise Chesnut, metal sculpture by Dewey Chesnut; oil paintings by Darlene Sims and Virginia Carey; China painting by Marie Bachelder, as well as works by Shirley Minzenmayer, Lue Kraatz, Jean Hensley, Kay Colburn, Dorothy Dankworth, and Susan Mansell among others.

Each one of the trees features a special theme. “This a great opportunity and I felt that I would dedicate this tree to all those who are fighting against cancer right now,” said Winters resident Regina Santoya, who recently moved here from San Antonio.

Last year Regina heard about the Christmas tree exhibit, and having an aunt who is a Breast Cancer survivor she decided to honor the courage of those who are going through the same situation.

“All these people come to West Dale and they mean so much to me because they are so kind, it’s something that you don’t see in San Antonio because it’s a big city,” Regina said.

“I heard last year that they were putting up Christmas trees and then I read it in the paper, and this year I wanted to participate and put up my tree into the hotel and show that I am sponsoring Breast Cancer survivors.”

Her tree is decorated with words such as “joy,” and full of pink details like pink Christmas balls, pink ribbons and bows, and presents wrapped in pink paper.

“Pink is for cancer , joy is for those who are fighting and still they have all that joy inside of them, not letting the disease take over their lives,” Regina explained. “That’s what my aunt did, she just had so much joy, and she didn’t let the disease take over her life, even through chemotherapy.”

Regina also found inspiration in some of the customers that go to the store she works at, which have lost all their hair but still have a smile in their face, “they are always there like they are not ill… that inspired me as well.”

Regina is already planning for the next year’s exhibit, when she will include a reference or a tree honoring heart disease survivors. She was inspired by her sister who just passed away of heart disease at the age of 39.

Other trees in the exhibit include Nadine DeLaCruz and friends’ traditional old Mexico Christmas tree, WABIC’s Snow Man tree, Bettye Pinkerton’s Charlie Brown tree, Runnels County Historical Commission’s pioneer tree, The Winters Enterprise’s newspaper decorated tree, REASON Animal Rescue’s tree, and many more.

The Christmas tree exhibit will be open to the public 5 p.m. thru 8 p.m. December 5 thru 8, 12-15, and 20-22. Wednesday, December 5 the Lutheran Choir will be singing Christmas songs, and the grand finale is scheduled for Saturday, December 22, with the performance of Richard and Star Smelker.