Business Leaders Respond to Jonesboro Mayor “Christmas Lights” Decree

It is hard to let something that has come to be near and dear to you go by the wayside. Most folks are settled in their ways and when you have something that you enjoy you just don’t want to see it stop taking place.

A week ago Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson caused quite a stir when he published a statement that the Town of Jonesboro would not be able to afford putting up the plethora of Christmas lights that the town has become noted for.

The reasoning given was sound and the explanation was understandable but that didn’t stop residents from business leaders to teenagers from voicing their opinions and offering ideas to keep the tradition going. See below for a small sampling of some of the comments and ideas that were provided.

Wilda Smith – Director of Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce: We are working very hard to see that there is Christmas lights this year in Jonesboro. As many of you may not know the chamber is not funded by federal, state or local government. Our income comes from dues, cookbook sales, Tee Shirts. We spend between 10 and $14,000 every year on the Christmas festival that is paid for by the chamber. Chamber has never had to pay anything for the lights or salaries for the town employees.

Trish Tolar – Southern Kustoms Car AutoCare Service Center:  As some of you may know, I offer screen printing at my business Heyhunner Portable Buildings and Carports! In the past I have supported communities by purchasing a “town tee” with my own logo along with many other small businesses in town. This year I would like to print my own town tees with the proceeds going towards the Christmas lights. This would keep 100% of the business and profits right here in town. Would anyone be interested in purchasing a tee or having their business name on the tee?

Johnny Ray Horton – President of Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce:  In times past we have all enjoyed the Christmas lights in Jonesboro, Hodge and surrounding areas in Jackson Parish. People from all areas of the parish would decorate their homes and businesses with lights and ornaments.

Well, all of us have grown up now and most of the ones who have decorated in the past have either passed away or have grown too old to continue the tradition. Now is the time for the younger generation to step up!

 It would be wonderful if we could create a trail of lights across Jackson Parish like from Clay to Jonesboro, to Weston and Chatham.  This would require that everyone join in and do their part.  I know that everyone has been dismayed by recent events but if we come together we can make Christmas in Jackson Parish bigger and better than it has ever been.

If you would like to join in please let me know. As Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce President this year I am committed to building up the Parish and it’s businesses. Please join me and many others in making this happen.

Obviously there were many more comments and ideas that have been shared. Have you got a good thought on how to help save our “Christmas In Wonderland” tradition? Feel free to comment here.

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