Kiowa lights reveal spirit of community

Illumination is result of many helping hands

Posted 12/4/15

The Town of Kiowa presented its eighth annual Lighting of the Lights seasonal celebration on Nov. 28. Billed as the “ultimate beginning of the holiday season,” the day started at the Lions Hall with crafts and games for kids downstairs and the …

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Kiowa lights reveal spirit of community

Illumination is result of many helping hands

Posted

The town of Kiowa presented its eighth annual Lighting of the Lights seasonal celebration on Nov. 28. Billed as the “ultimate beginning of the holiday season,” the day started at the Lions Hall with crafts and games for kids downstairs and the second annual customer appreciation sale in the Elbert County Coalition for Outreach thrift store upstairs.

By 6:30 p.m., residents gathered on the lawn of the Kiowa Town Hall for Santa and Mrs. Claus. The magical couple arrived in a parade of lights, compliments of the Kiowa Fire Department, to throw the switch illuminating the two 50-foot-tall evergreens on the lawn.

“It was so cold that I don't think we had as many as normal,” said Town Administrator Michelle Oeser, who estimated a crowd of around 50 people.

Following brief comments by the mayor highlighting significant events in Kiowa during the past year, the crowd moved down the hill to the warmth of Patty Anne's Café for refreshments and pictures with Santa.

“Patty Anne's always makes homemade food and hot drinks,” Oeser said. “That's all at no cost to the people who come in to mix and mingle.”

With finances tight, the Lighting of the Lights celebration is funded entirely through donations rather than paid for out of the town's budget, and if not for some quick work by local organizations, this year's tree lighting might not have been possible.

In previous years, a local benefactor had sponsored the lights, but this year, the cost to string the rented lights nearly doubled, and local groups stepped in to fill the gaps.

According to Oeser, the groups raised enough money for the town to either buy lights for both trees but not put them up, or to buy and string lights for a single tree.

“Then Sturgeon Electric stepped up and donated their time and equipment and put the lights on. They will take them down for us too,” she said.

With the purchase of the new lights, the town will only need to raise enough money, around $2,400, to have the lights put up and taken down next year.

In addition to Sturgeon Electric and the Elizabeth Networking Group, local organizations, businesses and families chipped in to make the event possible. They included Berends Earthmoving, Rapid Medical, Ridgeline Construction, Patty Anne's Café, Kiowa Lions Club and the Cornine family.

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