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Local

Chamber’s lighted parade to be held on courthouse square

Supervisors approve the use of county property

Santa Claus gives two thumbs up during the 2017 lighted parade during the annual Courthouse Lighting festivities. The Board of Supervisors approved the use of county property again for this year’s festival.
Santa Claus gives two thumbs up during the 2017 lighted parade during the annual Courthouse Lighting festivities. The Board of Supervisors approved the use of county property again for this year’s festival.

Wait. Is it time to start packing up Halloween decorations already? Not quite.

Following an extremely light meeting agenda Tuesday morning, the Jasper County Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 to approve the Greater Newton Area Chamber of Commerce’s use of the courthouse lawn for “holiday festivities” in late November.

Executive Director Amanda Price said those festivities are linked to the lighted parade and other various holiday-themed activities coinciding with the lighting of the courthouse Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving. In a letter to the supervisors, Price requested the board’s permission to use the courthouse property from 5 to 7 p.m. the day of the parade and “will take care of all cleaning after the event.”

Price said, “The parade and the courthouse lighting kind of almost happen simultaneously. So once the courthouse lights are lit, then the parade immediately starts following that. We have a couple of businesses that are doing fun things too.”

As will other groups and organizations throughout the community. In addition to celebrating its 14th year, the Chamber of Commerce-organized parade will also allow children and families to visit Santa and Mrs. Clause for free inside the Jasper County Courthouse. Free horse-and-carriage rides will also be provided for lighted parade guests.

“It’s a fun, annual tradition,” Price said. “They pick people up and they get to ride around the square a couple times. People like to come down for that. That will start at about 4:30 that evening and go until 8 p.m.”

Four days prior to the lighted parade, the 4-H Festival of Trees is scheduled to set up inside the courthouse from 5 to 7 p.m. and will likely be accessed by the public during the evening ceremonies. Price said all of the activities combined in the town square make for a “nostalgic, annual tradition that a lot of families look forward to doing” for the holiday season.

“With the Thanksgiving holiday there tends to be a lot of out-of-towners in town that maybe grew up here and came back to visit their families,” Price said. “I like to consider it sort of a Norman Rockwell-type event. Everyone is gathering around the courthouse and there’s this huge countdown that the crowd gets involved in.”

It’s an exciting experience, she added; one that conjures warm and fuzzy feelings “to kick off the holidays for our community and our county.”

“All that momentum builds up to the lighting of this big monument in our community and kind of culminates in the parade surrounding the downtown,” Price said.

In other action Tuesday, the board of supervisors:

• Approved the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office’s first quarterly report for fiscal year 2018-19. Disbursement total amounted to $535,290 while the receipts total amounted to $534,124.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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