Facebook post brings village together to light up Winside's park

Instead of a tour of homes, in 2019, Winside held a Tour of Lights as part of the village's annual craft show. That change gave Winside resident Kim Jaeger an idea. She wanted to have a reason to bring the community together and thought decorating the park could be a fun activityfor adults and kids alike, so she got permission from the village and put out a message on Facebook inviting volunteers to bring lights, extension cords and outdoor decorations to the park on Nov. 24.

"It's a great little town," Jaeger said. "I thought it would be fun to get it going."

After the call went out on Facebook to light up the park, Jaeger said lights and equipment just kept showing up at her home. Additionally, because of the Facebook post, some people who had long since left Winside saw what was going on and donated to help light up the park.

"I don't even know how many people donated, we had a tote in our garage that just ended up full and people just stopped and dropped off lights and I don't even know exactly who all did," Jaeger said. "That's kind of how this place works. Once people know something's going on they contribute."

With materials gathered in the run up, decoration day went smoothly. Jaeger said a group of 10 to 12 people helped get everything organized and the community continued to show its support. Jaeger said the Village installed more outlets in the park to accommodate all of the lights. When it came time to decorate, Jaeger said around 30 people came out to work.

"We even had guys turn up with tractors and loaders," Jaeger said. "Cars were parked on both sides of the street from the park just to stop and help."

Jaeger said it was nice to see little ones helping and playing while their parents hung lights. The day also brought out some residents newer to the town and gave them an opportunity to meet their neighbors.

Winside's park will shine until sometime around Jan. 10 when all the lights will come down. Jaeger said the Village has agreed to store the lights for next year.

"I'm hoping to build on it every year. Next year it's going to be more organized, this year we were just seeing how we could get it started," Jaeger said.

In small towns, amazing things can happen when residents decide to put actions to ideas.

"It's something I've always wanted to do and this would be a great year to do it because they were doing the city's fundraiser, so I said 'this is the year we need to decorate the park'," Jaeger said.

She wanted to thank the community and Village for its support throughout the project and encourages anyone who wants to donate or help hang lights next year to contact her at (402) 286-4190.

"It's a great little town and it's nice to have something to get us together to do during this time of the year," Jaeger said.

The Wayne Herald

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