Most people aren't thinking about Christmas in September but for Deb Goyen, Christmas, particularly Christmas lights, is already taking up a lot of her time.
Goyen organizes the annual Lemon Park Lights display and right now she is focusing on a new set of lights going up in Sixth Street Park for the first time this year.
The new display is the 12 Days of Christmas and Goyen is looking for a few willing donors to play Santa Claus to help pay for the displays.
Donations to Lemon Park Lights and some financial assistance from Travel and Tourism will be used to pay for the lights, Goyen said.
However, the price of the displays ranges from $700 to $2,000 apiece so to get the entire set of 12 displays will cost about $21,000 and that is where Goyen is hoping for some financial help to cover the cost of the displays.
"Travel and Tourism will be helping with the cost but it would be nice to get some donations so they wouldn't have to pay so much," Goyen said.
The lights are LED so that will save the city some money on electricity and replacing bulbs.
Goyen was also able to get the lights at a much lower cost because she ordered them back in January just after the light display season was over. They were available at a big discount because they were out of season and that saved a lot of money so she went ahead and ordered the displays then, Goyen said.
Goyen has a catalogue at The Peoples Bank where she works that shows the displays. Any person or group wanting to donate to the 12 Days of Christmas project should stop by the bank and visit with Goyen. Those interested can also call Goyen at the bank at 672-5611 or at her home at 672-2549.
Over the years Goyen had received many requests to add some lights to Sixth Street Park to compliment Lemon Park Lights but Goyen had always said "no" because she didn't want to duplicate the Lemon Park Lights. The new displays would require extra help for set up and take down plus additional electrical hookups in Sixth Street Park. It would also require additional storage space because the storage shed for Lemon Park Lights is full.
Then she found the 12 Days of Christmas display and it seemed to be exactly what would work in Sixth Street Park.
The display would instantly provide a complete 12-display set that required no more additions.
"Once you put it up, it's done," Goyen said.
Goyen presented the idea the city commissioners and although she was still a little hesitant to tackle the additional work, the commissioners approved the idea and that was the final element to make it work.
Page 2 of 2 - "It was actually their (city commission) decision that pushed me to go for it," Goyen said.
Goyen also got some unexpected help when Pratt Fire Chief Dave Kramer said city firefighters would help with setup and takedown. The Township 12 firefighters also volunteered to help as well.
The city agreed to do the necessary electrical work and that has been completed.
The displays have been ordered and because they don't have storage space yet, they will arrive just before set up day on Saturday, Nov. 10. The downtown lights and park lights will be turned on Saturday, Nov. 17.
Hopefully, the new displays will help fulfill the original purpose of the Lemon Park Lights to increase tourism in Pratt.
The number of visitors to Lemon Park Lights varies from year to year but the biggest total was approximately 22,500 vehicles, each with several people in the car.
Hopefully, those people will get a bite to eat or do some shopping or buy some gas before or after they visit the lights.
"That was the whole idea, to increase tourism," Goyen said.