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Local

Supervisors approve use of courthouse for Festival of Trees

Whether event will still be held will be addressed at another time

Guests arrive early to the 2019 Festival of Trees inside the Jasper County Courthouse. In the center of the building stands a tall Christmas tree. On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Jasper County Board of Supervisors approved the Festival of Tree's stay from Nov. 23 to Dec. 28.
Guests arrive early to the 2019 Festival of Trees inside the Jasper County Courthouse. In the center of the building stands a tall Christmas tree. On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Jasper County Board of Supervisors approved the Festival of Tree's stay from Nov. 23 to Dec. 28.

A community tradition during the holiday season has been given the OK from the board of supervisors to set up inside the Jasper County Courthouse as it has always done in years past, but that could change.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Jasper County Board of Supervisors approved the 4-H Festival of Trees to be set up between Nov. 23 and Dec. 28. However, Jasper County Maintenance Director Adam Sparks asked the board what their thoughts or ideas were on holding holiday events at the courthouse during a pandemic.

“With everything going on, just not sure it’s a great idea to — at least on the night of the parade — have the courthouse doors unlocked and people standing shoulder to shoulder in here,” Sparks said.

Brandon Talsma, chair of the Jasper County Board of Supervisors, suggested that could be looked in to and evaluated “when it gets closer.”

“In the mean time, we can continue to go ahead and plan on as normal,” Talsma said. “As time curves closer, if it’s still an issue, then OK. On the night of the parade the courthouse won’t be open, but people can come and walk through the rotunda.”

Typically, Festival of Trees’ organizers invite guests the day after Thanksgiving to tour the courthouse, which is filled with trees decorated by the local 4-H groups. Oftentimes, the tree decorations coincide with the individual groups’ support of a chosen charity or organization.

Sparks and his maintenance staff also assemble a massive, two-story tree in the courthouse rotunda.

The courthouse can become densely populated during the Festival of Trees. During the same time as that event, the courthouse lightning countdown is held, along with the parade and other community festivities in downtown Newton.

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

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