Just blame the Grinch
Last year, the economic downturn led many communities to cut back on holiday decorations, such as lights and Christmas trees. American City & County asked the readers of its weekly e-mail newsletter if their city or county would be able to put on its usual displays this December or if they would be reduced or eliminated. Below are some of the responses.
“Every year, we hold a Holiday Tree Lighting Festival in Joe Chillura Courthouse Square (a park) and close off surrounding streets for games, free food, free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, arts and crafts and a snow slide — something rarely seen by Floridian children! Traditionally, we’ve also produced a live stage show with high-quality lights and sound effects and finish up with snow (suds) falling in the park as the large center tree is lit. This year, after cutting $110 million from the county’s general fund budget, the event has been reduced by just over 50 percent. No high-quality stage show, no snow in the park, fewer lights on trees that encircle the park. We’ve sought out donations and worked hard to keep the snow slide for the children, the free Santa photos and food. It’s a hard year for everyone, and knowing that parents of many of the children who attend our event can’t afford to go to a big theme park festival, we wanted to still give our youth a holiday memory to treasure.”
— Lori Hudson, communications director, Hillsborough County, Fla.
“Battlefield, Mo., is adding one additional display to our Christmas display. We decorate our City Hall and community room starting just after Thanksgiving and don’t take them down until after the first of the year. We do not have any utility pole-mounted displays, so we do a great job decorating the one place used by so many in our community. The small additional cost to our electric bill is far outweighed by the festiveness and good will that comes from the decorations. Have a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.”
— Rick Hess, city administrator, Battlefield, Mo.