GC Holiday Lights hit by a wire-hungry grinch and not a cartoon one

Staff reports
Grayson County's brightest holiday attraction suffered a devastating blow at the end of its 20th season this month. Thieves ripped wiring out of many of the events newest displays.

Just as the folks behind Grayson County's Holiday Lights prepared to put the wraps on the 20th season of the display, something slimy slivered in and ripped the cheer out of a number for the displays.

Holiday Lights Elf Services Coordinator Jodi Platt, otherwise known as the county's purchasing agent, said someone stole several thousand feet of wiring from the displays that have brought light and cheer to so many this season and in season past.

"I am  told the value of these cables is over $5,000, but I don’t have official numbers for replacement at this time.  I don’t know if the Lights has made enough money at this point to recover the costs for this season and replace the cables," she said.

The final figures won't be available until all of the expenses for the season have been paid. Many people don't realize that Holiday Lights has existed for the past 20 years based on donations and grants alone. It is not supported by tax dollars. 

 It was started with funds from the Clara Blackford Smith and W Aubrey Smith Foundation and the Oliver Dewey Mayor Foundation. The foundations contributed $75,000 each to get the project off the ground. They gave additional support throughout the years to extend the display and expand the electricity available for the event.

From that point forward, the project has been supported by grants from local organizations and the donations given each night by those who drive through the display. Quarters, nickels, pennies and bills combined each year to cover the cost of the electricity need to power the lights, the over-time for the county employees who put them up and take them down, the candy handed out at the end of the display, the purchase of new displays and the replacement parts for older ones.

Now, that fund will have try to stretch to cover the cost to repair what were completely brand new displays at the beginning of the 20th year run. 

"I am so angry and disappointed by this," Platt said in an email. "It’s awful. Our new 12 Days of Christmas from the first day all the way to nine ladies dancing, some off of the new train," she said were found to have been stripped so far.

"And at the beginning of the season, we found Joseph from the nativity scene was missing," she added.

Platt said the theft is being investigated by the Grayson County Sheriff's Office. When caught, those responsible will face criminal charges.