Park Board sets annual Christmas Festival date

The Italy Park Board began preparations for its annual Christmas Festival Tuesday at a called meeting in council chambers.

The board voted to hold the annual event the first Saturday of December, which is Dec. 3 this year. After a brief discussion, they decided to hold the arts and crafts fair and Santa’s workshop at the former McConnell’s Furniture building where it was located last year.

James Hobbs said the community center, which may not be completed by December, cannot be the fix-all for the community. He said things worked out well last year with the arts and crafts in the (furniture store) building. He said the community center should be used for group gatherings and training.

Carolee Farnsworth said, “The area for the children was perfect. We had lots of children in there and that’s what we wanted.” She continued, “I would like to see us do it again over there. We now know what we need to do and maybe we can do a little more decorating.”

Reflecting on last year’s decorations, Jenna Chambers said most of the decorations belonged to Clover Stiles.

She said Stiles plans to hold a garage sale this summer and said they might want to try to purchase the decorations the group used last year. Chambers said she would try to get a ballpark price of what Stiles might want for the decorations.

Mayor Frank Jackson concurred noting, “The decorations made the building.”

Bruce Utley, chair, said he wants the Christmas Festival to get better every year.

Ronda Cockerham, assistant city secretary, said it is time to start talking with school administrators regarding the festival.

There are still several things left in the building from the event and the group voted to hold a clean up workshop at their next meeting scheduled for Aug. 2 at 5:30 p.m.

A four-person committee – Hobbs, Chambers, Utley and Stephanie Wilson – volunteered to prepare for the workday.

The group also discussed the Easter Egg Hunt held in the spring.

All members said they got positive feedback with moving the event from the library to the ballpark.

Chambers said she felt much safer having the children contained in the ball field area and said it was easier to divide the age groups.

Farnsworth said that next year they would need extra help for the “up to age two” group. She said only one parent was to accompany the child but said people went on in anyway when her back was turned.

Hobbs said he would like to see a better sound system but said overall things went well.