A tradition that has spanned more than 50 years continued in 2013 with the lighting of the Jenkins Townhouse Christmas Village Friday evening.
A tradition that has spanned more than 50 years continued in 2013 with the lighting of the Jenkins Townhouse Christmas Village Friday evening. Temperatures dropped well below the freezing mark as a large crowd gathered for the ceremony.
Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney served as the master of ceremonies. The Central School Stingers, a fourth-and fifth-grade choir of 135 voices under the direction of Daniel Venner, provided musical entertainment prior to Santa’s arrival.
After welcoming those in attendance, Haney introduced Major John Flannigan of The Salvation Army, who provided a Christmas prayer. He also thanked the people of the community who have supported the Salvation Army.
“This makes the 126th year that the Salvation Army has been serving the Livingston and Grundy counties,” Flannigan said. “We sure appreciate the good support of the community.”
He said the bell-ringing campaign, the largest Salvation Army fundraising effort of the community, supports not only The Salvation Army’s Christmas work, but helps sustain its assistance programs year-round.
The mayor then introduced Cole Graham, a third-grade student from Field Elementary School, who was chosen to help Santa turn on the village lights. Cole is the son of Bill and Angela Graham, grandson of Dick and Helen Graham, and Jerry and Nellie Jo Gaston.
Citing the nomination form submitted by his teacher, Haney said Cole has fought a courageous battle the last four-and-a-half months.
“Despite many obstacles since the beginning of the school year and even dating back to last summer, Cole has had a smile on his face and is an eager student everyday,” Haney said. “Cole has a true love for learning and is a teacher’s dream student. He is a natural leader, a good friend to all. His peers look up to him in all areas.”
Soon after introducing Cole, the Chillicothe Fire Department’s fire truck arrived with Santa, among cheers from the crowd. Santa stepped onto the stage and he and Cole threw the switch together, illuminating the Christmas village. The public was then invited to enter through the gate, tour the village and visit with Santa.
Visiting the Jenkins Townhouse Christmas Village is a tradition for many people. Melissa Hollifield, of Chillicothe, remembers coming each year as a child. Now, she attends with husband, BJ, and their 5-year-old son, Brody.
“It’s a really neat experience, and I’m glad I get to share it,” she said.
Chillicothe Hy-Vee, as in past years, provided hot chocolate during the evening. The Chillicothe Rotary Club organized this year’s event with assistance from The Salvation Army.