story and photos by Jeremy Donnell
With just a flip of a switch the sky and surrounding area went from darkness to bright and beautiful tonight during the 16th Annual Trail of Lights Ceremony in Paris, Ark.
The switch was turned on by Mayor Daniel Rogers and Logan County Judge Gus Young. This was merely the midway point of the ceremony with many activities preceding and follow.
There were several singers who performed in front of the courthouse, free hot chocolate was available from from Denis and Devin Carlisle at the Carlisle Roofing Construction.
Once all the singers had finished within a couple minutes Paris Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Hixson got on stage with Young and Rogers to begin the lighting ceremony.
Young recalled a memory from his past and Rogers thanked everyone for coming then the two walked up to flip the switch controlling all the lights in the square. Everyone counted down from 10 and in an instant the square was filled with light and the beauty of Christmas.
Shortly after, the parade began with police cars and fire trucks in front. Lasting almost 45 minutes it included old and new cars, tractors, motorcycles, decorated and lit floats, horses and carriages, 18 wheelers, raised pick-up trucks and jeeps, Kiser and the Vibe vehicles, and of course at the end Santa Claus with a banner wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
With the parade coming to an end the crowd walked around the courthouse looking at all the lights and trees. Many families had their kids dragging them to trees to show the ornaments they had worked so hard on. Santa Claus showed up at his shop to find out what the kids wanted for Christmas.
The annual courthouse and town square lighting sponsored by the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce is a featured point of interest in the Arkansas State Parks and Tourism’s “Trail of Holiday Lights.”
More than 60 communities join in the celebration of the Trail of Lights, beginning the week of Thanksgiving and ending New Years day. For those who enjoy road trips, the Trip Planner feature allows you to build an individualized Trail of Holiday Lights trip across Arkansas and add other attractions along the way. The page includes directions to each location and pictures/videos of the lights and attractions.