FAIRFIELD — Though there was no Holiday Lighting Ceremony in Fairfield this year because of the pandemic, the public can still enjoy the festive lights and decorations in the city’s downtown.
But maintaining those beautiful ornaments takes money, and thus the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce has begun its annual fundraising campaign called the Tree of Lights to pay for new ornaments and repairs. Chamber Executive Director Darien Sloat said the fundraiser normally generates $3,500-$4,000 annually from people who send donations ranging from $10 to $250. Last year, Teresa Huffman raised a large sum of money toward the construction of a new Santa House and workshop on the northeast corner of Central Park.
Sloat said all of the donations go to maintain and buy ornaments. None goes toward labor, which is all donated. The city of Fairfield pitches in by donating the manpower necessary to hang the ornaments and install the large displays such as the giant snowman on the south side of the park.
“Installing that takes two trucks and two pieces of heavy equipment,” Sloat said. “It’s not a small task.”
Two men, Earl Stimson Jr. and Eric Goodrich, repair the decorations. Sloat said many of the ornaments are old and require a lot of tender loving care. He said the cost of repairing ornaments amounted to about $2,000 this year. This year, the Chamber’s Christmas Committee had money to buy four more nutcrackers, so now there are two nutcrackers guarding all four entrances to the park.
“We try to have something new every year, but the repairs have been extensive in the last few years, so it’s stretched our budget,” Sloat said. “Unless we get surprised with larger donations than usual, we’ll spend the money on repairs and maintenance next year and not get anything new.”
Sloat said there are other places in Fairfield that could house additional ornaments such as Howard Park or next to the welcome signs at the edge of town.
Those who make a donation to the Tree of Lights by Dec. 18 will be listed in the insert the Chamber puts out, though the Chamber accepts donations for the ornaments year-round.
The Chamber can be reached at 641-472-2111 or via email at email@example.com.