RIO GRANDE — Rio Grande residents and visitors gathered in front of the Rio Grande Village Municipal Building to celebrate an early Christmas as part of the second It’s a Grande Christmas Thursday evening.
“(Clarissa Carroll) came to me last year with this idea that kind of spurred from Gallipolis in Lights,” said Rio Grande Mayor Matt Easter. “Since it was such a hit, we thought we would try to do our part by spreading lights to a neighboring community and inspire more of the town to light up and become part of the holiday season.”
Carroll spearheaded the event with assistance from the office staff of the municipal building.
“This is our Christmas lighting,” said Carroll. “I shared a Facebook post two years ago of a small town decorating with Christmas lights. I like lights. Of course, we have Gallipolis in Lights but this is Rio. So, we wanted to have something cool and fun for everyone to enjoy in our small town. It felt like we were missing something. We do something for Halloween and that’s great but Christmas is Christmas.”
Lights are set up throughout the inside and outside of the municipal building and there is a community tree which sits outside the structure.
Children decorated wooden ornaments at the event with food and refreshments served for visitors. Before the lighting ceremony, community members sang Christmas carols in front of the building.
“It’s a classic old building and used to be a grade school in the early 1900s, so why not showcase it a little bit?” said Easter. “We wanted to show that Gallipolis in Lights and the lighting inspiration is working and spreading.”
The evening was dedicated to the civil service of Patty Weatherholt for serving as a village council member from January 9, 1990 to the end of this year. Her family accepted a token of gratitude from the village before being asked to turn on the lights after a 10-second countdown. Weatherholt served 28 years total on council.
“She did not choose to run again,” said Easter. “So, we wanted to honor her.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.