Communities aim to light up the town

GOESSEL-tree-12.03.jpg
GOESSEL-tree-12.03.jpg

Larry Lindeman (above) plugs in the lights that adorned the 25-foot tall tree for Goessel?s first ?Community Christmas Tree Lighting? on Saturday evening. More than 60 people braved the cold wind to watch the event, which occurred in front of the Main Street Station in Goessel. Helping to make the event possible were James Wiens, who hauled the tree to its location, and Larry and Kela Schmidt, who decorated it. Refresh?ments were served and Christmas music was played over a loudspeaker.<p><p>Courtesy Photo

Some Marion County residents could receive a gift from their municipality by simply getting into the holiday spirit with lights.

For example, Hillsboro residents wanting to take advantage of the holiday light incentive program this year have until Monday, Dec. 15, to sign up and receive a $10 reduction on their February utility bill.

?For many years the city has offered this incentive program to residential customers only,? said Mona Hein, city billing clerk.

The only two requirements are that customers have at least two strands of lights displayed outdoors on or near their home and it must be done before signing up for the incentive.

?We also need an account number when customers sign up (for the incentive), but a listing is available with that information if someone doesn?t have it,? Hein said. ?It?s a $10 reduction that will be on the February bill.?

Lighted trees or other ornamental items synonymous with the holidays will be acceptable, she said.

The idea behind the annual incentive, she said, is to encourage residents to light up Hills?boro for the holidays.

In Marion, city officials will also be giving residents a $10 reduction on their January bill for putting up holiday decorations.

?Residents will need to sign up for the reduction on their January bill,? said Becky Makovec, city treasurer, ?but with no set date in December.?

The idea in Marion is to encourage people to get into the holiday mood and light up their homes for the holiday.

Marion residents will not be required to have their lights up before they can get the rebate, but they need to sign up at the city office for it.

?We are doing this on the honor system,? she said.

Although many communities will not be giving incentives, Peabody, Florence and Lincoln?ville have events noteworthy for the holidays.

Florence City Clerk Janet Robinson said everyone is encouraged to attend ?Christmas with Santa,? at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Florence Senior Center.

The event will include lighting of the tree, a puppet show, Santa arriving on the fire truck, refreshments and other goodies, she said.

The event is sponsored by the Florence Chamber of Com?merce.

Last year?s ice storm not only took its toll on trees and homes in the area, but also on hopes for residents to light up their homes in Lincolnville.

City Clerk Jane Pigorsch said the ice storm took out power for about two weeks during the holiday season and so the contest was canceled.

Pigorsch said the council was meeting this week to vote on the house decorating contest, which is something the city has done for many years.

If approved, Pigorsch said, the council could choose an award for first, second and third place for decorated homes in Lincolnville.

For the third year, Peabody?s Main Street Association is sponsoring a ?Prairie Christmas,? said Sara Pohlman, city clerk.

The event is something most of the businesses take part in with activities ranging from a parade, crafts and story-time to a silent auction, tablescaping and music.

A small fee of $3 is charged for a button, she said.

The ?Prairie Christmas? begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 9 p.m. Saturday.

Some highlights include the silent auction from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Peabody Senior Center; a parade down Main Street at 4 p.m.; meals at Morgan House, one of the city?s historic buildings; a bluegrass concert from 4:30 to 6 p.m., featuring Greenhorn, at the American Legion; a chuck wagon meal (come and go) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and bowling for all ages with prizes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

?It?s a fun day with all kinds of activities,? she said.

In Ramona, a city-wide Christmas party, of sorts, is planned for Saturday, Dec. 13.

?It?s more of a private party for Ramona residents,? said Jessica Gilbert, city official.

This year?s event, ?Chilly Christmas Carolers? Party,? will feature a ?four-alarm? chili supper and contest for residents with the Ramona Fire Depart?ment judging.

A tree-lighting ceremony was held last weekend in Goessel, said Anita Goertzen, city clerk.

The annual event welcomes the holidays and followed the alumni basketball game.

While many communities may not have a ?festival of lights? display, many have scheduled events to brighten the holidays.

For more information about the Hillsboro incentive program call 620-947-3162 or in Marion call 620-382-3703.

For information about other activities in Marion County, call specific city offices or organizations coordinating events.

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