ELKINS- If you are looking for festive holiday spirit, look no further than the Town Square in downtown Elkins, which is decorated with more than 70 individual light units, many of which are animated.
Ed Griesel, Elkins Depot Welcome Center president, said "It's (Town Square) something that just keeps growing and growing every year." Community support and turnout to help with the decorating also continues to grow.
This year, for the first time, a nearly 12-foot tall Christmas tree has been added to the decorations. It was donated and decorated by Dr. Kent, Rita and Aaron Moss.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Tim MacVean
Lit up versions of Santa and Mrs. Claus wave at children and spread their cheer this holiday season in the Town Square in Elkins. There are more than 70 light units, most being automated, that make up the festive decorations in the town square.
"It's been a whole community effort to get the decorations up," Griesel said. "Many private citizens and businesses alike have bought light units or donated money to the purchase of new ones."
The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad bought the train that is featured and Good News Christian Bookstore purchased the nativity scene units, at a cost of close to $1,000 for all the pieces.
"I can tell you that a group of volunteers worked their tails off setting those decorations, running electricity, and putting everything in place," said John Smith, president of the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad.
"It takes two days just to put the units together, another three days to hammer in the rebar and place the units, so five to six days in total," Griesel said.
Many people and businesses from the community came out to help ,from Frontier Communications, who donated a bucket truck to help hang the wreaths on the light posts, to employees of Advanced Hearing Solutions, who not only helped with the set up but also purchased pizza to feed the crew. Other groups that helped included ParMar managers, Children's Home students and the Elkins Mountain School.
On Sunday nights, Boy Scout Troop 88 holds a bonfire at the Town Square as well. The space at the depot for this was made accessible by the Randolph County Development Authority, while the wood was donated by Armstrong Flooring and marshmallows for the event were donated by Shop & Save. John Cunningham of Cunningham Excavating helped with leveling the area for the bonfire.
"It's lit up here and runs into town," Griesel said. "It keeps the town square full of people and adds to the experience for people coming in for the Polar Express train."
The Christmas lights were purchased from "Christmas Done Bright," a company that specializes in Christmas decorations in Tennessee.
In addition to the above, individuals and businesses that contributed to the decorations and setup included Ed and Elaine Griesel, Fred Schmidt, Nancy Barlow, Kathy Vance, Kris Wilmoth, the Elkins Fire Department, Jeffrey Cooper, Mountain Hospice, AES Windmill, Mary's Greenhouse, Harold Elbon, the City of Elkins, Kathy Broschart, Blossom Village, Chris Polino, Big Lots, CVS Pharmacy and the Elkins Depot Welcome Center.
Other contributors include Jessica Kittle, Sian Dowis, Rocky and Diana Vannoy, Serena Marson, Naida Vonne Simpson, Bonnie Webb, the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, Debbie Webley, Curtis Wilfong of ERCC, Construction by RQ, Chenoweth Contracting, Stacie Scott and Danielle Cool of ParMar, Tyler Roark and Sam Bradley of Advanced Hearing Solutions, Brandon Justice, Donald Rittle and Cody Plum of Aaron's, Denver Barnett, Jim Schoonover, Bob Porterfield and Bill Hartman.