For Jonesboro residents this year it wasn’t the Grinch that was threatening to steal the Christmas spirit and more importantly the well know “Christmas Lights” tradition the town is known for. This time it was the double whammy of dealing with COVID-19 and a lack of funds that was normally allotted by the town that ALMOST did for residents of Jonesboro, Louisiana. That ALMOST is capitalized because Jonesboro residents are banning together to save Christmas for the whole town. Just a few weeks ago it looked like it was going to be a dark holiday season.
“People were saying “We have to have lights, Jonesboro has to have lights,” said Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce President Johnny Horton. “So, everyone has just come together with suggestions and bring the community together. People want to get out and do things.”
As a result, the Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce and the City of Jonesboro came up with a solution. The city would still put up lights on town property, but the local businesses would have to put up their own. One business owner says she doesn’t mind as it wouldn’t be a “Christmas Wonderland in the Pines” without the lights.
“We know the community is kind of struggling right now,” said Amber Lowe, owner of Grit and Grace. “We are pretty much known for this in Jonesboro, so we are going to do our part and help in the community where we can.”
These Christmas lights have gone up every year since 1983. However, they’re more important than just making the town festive. It is a big revenue producer for many main street and downtown businesses as well as putting Jonesboro in the minds of people from neighboring towns.
“For our small businesses, the lights have always been something that is very important. It gets a lot of foot traffic out. Some people may not know a lot of these businesses are here, so they get the opportunity to kind of explore and see what we have to offer,” said Lowe.
The chamber of commerce has set up a donation account at the Jackson Parish bank that will help by lights for small businesses. On Saturday, volunteers will be out in the community helping put up the lights on businesses in the community.