With the Christmas decorations in the Village of Swanton showing their age, officials decided something needed to be done to improve their look. That something is Swanton Shines, which features a tree lighting ceremony and other events, Saturday evening at Pilliod Park.
After Christmas last year, Mayor Ann Roth requested that the village look into updating wreaths around town, as bows had faded. Neil Tedrow, superintendent of Public Service Operations in the village, had also discussed the wreaths, as well as other holiday decorations, with Village Administrator Rosanna Hoezle.
“Neil mentioned the amount of bulbs replaced each year due to age of decorations, and thought it would be good to evaluate looking into upgrading to LED options,” said Hoelzle. “I went to Council to bring up the topic of Christmas decorations for two reasons: new decorations are very expensive, and I believe it would be beneficial to have community members be a part of conversations of upgrading decorations throughout town but particularly in Pilliod Park.”
Following a post on Facebook, a group of community members came together to discuss Christmas decorations.
“At the first meeting, it was the consensus of the group that a small fundraiser/event could bring awareness to the decorations and possibly raise money for future upgrades,” said Hoelzle. “The idea of a Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony came from Patty Stambaugh.”
The various other activities were proposed by the community members who have met monthly to plan this: Ashley Stambaugh, Karen Lawniczak, and Robin Dudley.
The evening kicks off with a 5K at 5 p.m. There will also be a kids’ fun run around the trail at the park, slated to begin at 6 p.m.
The course for the 5K will leave the park and go north on Hallett Avenue, over the overpass and into the neighborhoods between the railroad tracks and Ohio Turnpike, before heading back to Pilliod Park.
A link to register online for the races is available on the Swanton Shines Facebook page.
Other Swanton Shines activities begin at 5:30 p.m., and Santa Claus will read to children in the library following the kids’ fun run. The tree lighting is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“There will be hot chocolate and cookies at the event which are free but donations will be accepted throughout the evening,” said Hoelzle.
Parking for the event will be available at the Swanton Public Library, the Swanton Municipal Building Parking lot, and the stone lot to the west on the Chestnut Street.
In addition, Swanton Shines long sleeve T-shirts are available to purchase at the village municipal building, 219 Chestnut St., through Nov. 30. “There are only 200, so we hope the community looks to purchase these limited edition shirts,” said Hoelze. They are $10 each.
“Any proceeds from the event will be used for future purchases of Christmas-related decorations, whether they be updated LED bulbs, new displays or the like. The plan is to evaluate how the inaugural event goes and identify purchases over the next three to five years,” said Hoelzle. “Any upgrades will be done in phases over time due to the large expense of decorations. The main upgrade this year is to the wreathes around town; hopefully community members notice the updated bows and bulbs.”
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise