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Christmastime is Here

Published: Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 11:33 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 11:43 a.m. CST
(Zack Johnson/Daily News)
The Christmas light display at the Jasper County Courthouse was illuminated Friday to kick off the holiday season in Newton. The Great Newton Area Chamber of Commerce's annual lighted Christmas parade followed.

In Newton, the lighting of the Jasper County Courthouse Christmas lights has been a tradition since 1934.

The lights themselves, however, have come to symbolize different things for residents of the community and visitors alike.

“I had an old friend tell me when he was driving home from Vietnam in December, he remembered the first glimpse of the lights and he knew he was home in Newton, Iowa,” Steve Knight said.

The Young Professionals of Jasper County held their annual chili cookoff, with proceeds going toward the Courthouse Lighting Fund. Angie Mowbary of Newton Manufacturing was the new chili champion.

“It went very good; the chili went fast, as usual,” YPJC President Amanda Price said. “We are making very good progress on donations for the courthouse lighting fund ... It’s bringing more people out and I hope to have more people participate next year, so we can have more chili to giveaway.”

The cookoff marks the last event for Price as president of the Young Professionals of Jasper County. She has served as the President of the group for two years.

“I am extremely happy that I was a part of the group by being president,” Price said. “I am hoping it will continue to grow and gain more members. I love helping out in the community.”

The master of ceremonies of the parade was Iowa Speedway Director of Communications Craig Armstrong. He  entertained those in attendance telling stories of past years and how this was one of his favorite times of the year in Newton.

The event was finished out with children sitting on Santa Claus’ lap.

“I am getting into my 60s now. I grew up with those lights — a lot of folks have as well — which we look forward to every year,” Knight said. “It is fun with the parade and kicking on the lights being the kickoff to the Christmas season. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Staff writer Zach Johnson may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at zjohnson@newtondailynews.com