The holiday season may be over, but the celebrating is really just starting for the committee that puts on Grayson County Holiday Lights each year. The reason for the celebration is the generosity shown to the event by the people who drive through and make donations.
Grayson County Purchasing Agent Jeff Schneider, who heads the committee, said the donations this year topped out at $86,961. The previous drive through donation record had been a little over $79,000.
Schneider said the grand total on donations for the year is estimated at $90,461.30 and includes $3,500 from Walmart stores.
At the Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday, Grayson County Judge Bill Magers praised the hard work done by county staffers to allow the lights to unfold each year. He also praised the volunteers who show up each year to keep the costs to run the event low.
He said the committee wants to say “a very special thank you to all who toured Holiday Lights for your generous donations. Money collected is used to pay expenses, add new (displays) and maintain our displays.”
The group would also like to thank the wonderful crew of volunteers who show up each night to stand out in the weather and accept those donations while handing out candy and holiday greetings to all who visit the display. The display would not work without those volunteers, the committee said.
It also praised the dedicated crew of county maintenance employees who drag the displays out each year in October, refurbish the ones that need it, and then start setting them up in time to get the drive through open by the day after Thanksgiving.
A special thanks also went out to the county commissioners who often lend a hand in getting things ready to open on time.
The Grayson County Holiday Lights never charges anyone to visit the drive through. Donations are taken up at the end.
Retired Grayson County Judge Horace Groff and Ray Bledsoe worked together to make the idea of a lighted display in Grayson County a reality by gathering grants from area foundations to purchase the first set of lights. Foundations funded the expansion of the road for the displays and other improvements along the way. The foundations that have helped to support the display include the Elias & Hanna Regensburger Foundation, Oliver Dewey Mayor Foundation and the Clara Blackford Smith & Aubrey Smith Charitable Foundation. But the folks that drive through display and give donations at the end have kept the lights on, paid for necessary county staff overtime and bought new light bulbs and displays.