Plans underway for Christmas celebration
By Kevin Dye
While the leaves on the trees have just started to change colors and fall, plans are underway for the 2012 West Jefferson Christmas in the Park celebration.
This year, local business person Carol Beachy has stepped up to fill the void left by West Jefferson Community Association president Jeff Pfeil, who retired from the leadership position for the holiday festival. Pfeil had been a one-man crew testing and hanging the 300,000 holiday lights that decorate Garrette Park for the last 15 years.
Beachy said that things are moving along smoothly and added there are some new things being added to this year’s event.
“I have a lot of people coming out to hang lights and decorate,” Beachy said. “We are at Garrette Park every Saturday morning starting at 10 a.m. testing lights. If people want to help, they can just show up and we will put them to work. We can also use volunteers to help with the food during the event.”
While Pfeil is no longer heading up the holiday festival, he is still advising Beachy and her crew.
“Jeff had this down to a science,” Beachy said.
“He is doing a lot of advising and training. He may have retired, but he did not walk away.”
This year, Christmas in the Park will be held Friday, Dec. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 9, with opening ceremonies on Dec. 7 with the West Jefferson American Legion raising the American flag and Santa Claus arriving to throw the switch to light the park.
There will be homemade food and beverages on hand to purchase and the West Jefferson High School Gold Choir will sing Christmas carols in the park.
The annual Christmas Parade of Lights will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8, with participants meeting at the West Jefferson American Legion at 5 p.m. and the parade starting at 5:30 p.m. along Main Street.
At this point in the planning, Beachy said it is uncertain if the carriage rides will return this year.
“We would like to do the carriage rides again, but we can’t until we see how our donations are going,” she said.
Christmas in the Park is a nonprofit event and it relies on the support of donations from local businesses and the community.
Beachy said that the cost to hold the event is around $4,000 for the cost to rent the lift to hang the lights in the trees and all of the supplies for the festival. You can donate to the event now by stopping by West Jefferson Hardware or mailing the donation to West Jefferson Christmas in the Park, P.O. Box 292, West Jefferson, OH 43162.
Beachy said that donation buckets also will arrive soon to many local businesses.
Beachy and Sandy Boucher are working to get a musical concert for the parking lot area of West Jefferson Hardware to coincide with the Saturday Christmas Parade of Lights and the West Jefferson Business Council is planning a Winter Walk that night for area businesses.
“The West Jefferson Business Council is collaborating with the Christmas in the Park for a Winter Walk event, with a number of local businesses to be open after the parade,” Madison County Chamber of Commerce and West Jefferson Business Council representative David Jackson said. “It is an opportunity for folks to stay downtown and finish up their Christmas shopping and it helps local businesses to prosper.”
Another new activity is being added to this year’s event — the Honor Tree.
“We will have one tree that will be designated as the Honor Tree,” Beachy said. “For a donation of $50 or larger, you can honor someone or memorialize someone and they will have their name on a small wooden snowman on the Honor Tree at the park. After Christmas in the Park the family or individual who purchased it will get the wooden snowman back for a keepsake.”
For more information about West Jefferson Christmas in the Park or to financially donate to assist the festival, you can contact Carol Beachy at West Jefferson Hardware at (614) 879-9036.