The City of Gillespie and Holiday Sparkle group welcomed the holiday season by hosting a tree lighting ceremony on Sunday. The event attracted hundreds of spectators downtown to witness the lighting and take part in the ceremony.
The tree, situated on the empty lot between United Community Bank and the former Randy’s Market location, stands over 15 feet high decorated by LED multi-colored lights and nearly 600 ornaments created by students at Ben-Gil Elementary School. Despite the tree being on the smaller side this year due to abbreviated planning, many attendees complimented its appearance and the work that went into it to bring it downtown.
“What a beautiful add to our main street,” Kim Thornhill said.
A blend of scripture and singing, the lighting celebration lasted nearly 25 minutes and included six traditional Christmas songs and the story of Jesus’s birth presented by local pastors Jared DePoppe of First Baptist Church, Art Roemer of First Christian Church, and Dane Solari of Trinity Baptist Church.
Coleen Fritz said it was great to see so many people join in the lighting of the tree. “Great job,” she added.
The tree lighting event comes nearly three weeks before the Holiday Sparkle event scheduled for Saturday, December 17 in downtown Gillespie. Both events are being organized by the Holiday Sparkle committee, a newfound group that wanted to see the community come together to celebrate the holiday season.
The Sparkle event on Dec. 17 will include visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and other Christmas characters, a petting zoo, craft and food vendors, a 5k run, and a lighted parade. More information can be found on their website and applications are still being accepted for vendors and parade entries.
In addition to the Sparkle event, the group is also organizing a house decorating contest called the “Great Griswold Light Competition” and organizing for the planters through the business district to be decorated for the Christmas season.
“The tree and the downtown area look beautiful and festive,” Michelle Fulton Peifer said.