Paul Porter Park Christmas display celebrates 20th year

Published 9:35 am Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Village of Coal Grove will mark a milestone when the lights on the village’s Christmas display are switched on later this month. The village will celebrate 20 years of proudly showing off its Paul Porter Park.

“When we started out we had the ice rink, a train, a snowman and maybe one or two little things,” Coal Grove Betterment Club member Jae Roush recalled, pointing around the park. “We used 50,000 miniature lights.”

How thing have changed over time. This year the village has added more new displays than it started with 20 years ago.

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“We have a new helicopter and a new Santa’s workshop,” Betterment Club President and Coal Grove First Lady Vickie McDaniel said. “We have a new display that is a dog and doghouse and we have a new snowman. He’s standing by a fire like he’s melting. We have some new soldiers and new reindeer and some new greenery.”

The annual Christmas event now features several dozen items including a life-sized Nativity, Christmas trees and a sleigh pulled by reindeer.

Members of the betterment club and other community-minded folks have spent the last couple of weeks arranging the displays, connecting miles and miles of lighting cables.

For a couple of days this week the effort is getting a boost from Ironton Municipal Court.

“Judge C. Clark Collins is letting (community service director) J.D. Gore bring some workers to help us,” McDaniel said. “If it wasn’t for them we couldn’t get this done.”

Workers will spend another week and a half completing the task.

Roush said plans are to have the display lit at dusk on Thanksgiving night.

The Coal Grove Christmas Parade will be 6 p.m. Dec. 4. Santa will make an appearance and everyone is invited to the park afterward for hot cocoa and cookies.

Mayor Larry McDaniel estimated 5,000 carloads of people will visit the park during the Christmas season.