The city of Conway had a dream, a big Christmas dream; one that would create merriment and joy for all who visited this ever growing central Arkansas city during the holidays.
Lights and decorations were part of the plan, but, festive as they are, that just wasn’t enough.
They decided on a tree, a massive tree, in fact, at fifty four feet, it would be the tallest Christmas tree in the state.
It took a little money, about $130,000, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears for this dream to come to fruition. When I first saw it in 2013, sections of the tree remained unlit. Some folks said it was faulty wiring, some said it was the rainy weather.
No matter what the reason, residents were a little agitated that their tax dollars went to pay for something that had been deemed a lemon. The tree had to be repaired and in perfect working order for the lighting ceremony in November 2014.
It was shipped back to Get Lit, the Springdale based company that produced the tree, for guaranteed repair. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to the city of Conway, Get Lit went out of business soon after receiving it. Phone calls and emails were not returned, nor was the tree.
At this point, some may have given up, but not the city of Conway. In a collaborative effort with different city departments, the tree was finally secured in the summer. It was still in disrepair, so the staff at Parks and Recreation became like Santa’s elves, mending the branches and repairing the lights.
The 2014 lighting was a success! For two holiday seasons, it has been a delight to many!
Naysayers still remain, touting that the purchase was a waste of money, but I applaud the folks at Conway for not only their willingness to take risks, but also their dedication to encouraging the holiday spirit!