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Reviving a holiday tradition on the county square

DEWAYNE HOLLOWAY/dewayne@mcnews.online
A local business owner is working hard to resurrect a Christmas light tradition in Mount Ida that began in Little Rock with the Jennings Osborne household.
Sherry Ellison wears many hats in the community. When not working hard at Bates Sales and Service she can be seen taking photos at various community and school events. She has been involved in several local charities and civic projects as well.
Her newest project is the resurrection of the Christmas light display on the Montgomery County Courthouse Square. The display originated with the world famous Osborne Family Christmas Light Display at their home in Little Rock. After neighborhood complaints forced the Osborne’s to curtail the number of lights at their home they began offering portions of their light displays to communities around the state. The Osborne’s would go on to light Disney World for several years, as well as Downtown Hot Springs.
Mount Ida was one of the smaller communities to benefit from their generosity. While the donation of lights and decorations filled the courthouse lawn with cheer for many holiday seasons, over time wear and tear forced the county to retire the Christmas fixtures.
That’s where Sherry enters the story of the Osborne lights in Montgomery County.
She shared Monday that she missed the lights on the Square and had been trying to track them down for three or four years. This year she was finally able to ascertain their location. The decorations were in storage at the county fairgrounds. It took some legwork, but Sherry was able to get access to the lawn ornaments and permission from County Judge Sammy Jones to refit the fixtures for service.
Sherry stated that once she began dragging the decorations out of storage it was clear that there was a lot of work to be done. As she began refitting the decorations with lights it became clear that she didn’t have time to get all of them ready in time for this year’s Christmas season.
So she did what most people do and turned to social media for help. She posted on Facebook over the week end about her project and asked for people, churches, businesses and community organizations to pitch in and held with the renovations.
If you would like to help get the lawn decorations ready for the holidays just swing by Bates Sales and Service and ask for Sherry. She will provide you with ornaments in need of repair, or if you would like you can give a donation to help with the refitting of lights.
Sherry hopes to have the lights ready to light and placed on the Courthouse lawn in time for the annual Christmas Parade in Mount Ida.

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