Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
BRIGHTON — The Brighton Chamber of Commerce recently unveiled several of what it hopes will become new holiday traditions for the community.
Chamber Member Kristi McArtor said the group felt it was time to think outside the box.
“When you do the same thing over and over again … there’s no excitement in it, there’s no draw to it anymore because the new has worn off,” she said. “We want people to feel welcome coming to Brighton, it’s a great place to live and we want to grow this little town. So we’re trying to get a community that is excited about itself and see where we can go.”
Perhaps the most unconventional new practice is a fundraising practice the Chamber is debuting this year. Families in Washington, Jefferson and Henry counties can give the group a call between Nov. 27 and Dec. 18 and, with a $40 donation, arrange for a front lawn visit from “the Grinch and some of his friends,” who will perform a skit and leave small gifts for members of the household.
“We’re trying to figure out new and different ways to raise money so we can give back to our community,” McArtor said. “Everybody does soup suppers, you know what I mean? This is something different that our community and surrounding areas have not done.”
Another new event is a citywide lights contest, with winners, determined by community members’ votes, receiving cash awards.
“We’ve got two different divisions, we’ve got the best traditional, and we have the Griswald, the house that has the most over-the-top, most lights, the most decorations,” McArtor said. “They did it several years ago, but they only did it one year. The things that we’re starting to roll out this year, these are going to be annual events. We’re starting new traditions for Brighton.”
Lastly, the Chamber plans to hold its first annual Christmas tree lighting in central park on Nov. 26 at 5:30 p.m., an event McArtor said would feature free hot chocolate and cookies as well as a visit from Santa afterward.
McArtor said she hoped the new traditions would help make Brighton families happy.
“For me, it’s about making Christmas and making the holidays magical for our families,” she said. “To see that little sparkle in my grandbaby’s eye, it makes it all worth it … It’s just about making memories and having a good time and supporting a good cause.”