Each Christmas season the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation organizes a Merrill tradition – the holiday lights at the Lincoln County Courthouse. The giant pines aglow in Christmas colors could be seen from nearly every entrance into the community. In recent years, the court house lawn has lost many of these big trees due to age, disease and storms. But never fear, there will be lights this year – another forest of them – with your help!
The Chamber has teamed up this year with Badger Wreath, who is donating 10-foot natural (unshaven/shaped) evergreen trees that will adorn the south side of the courthouse lawn. The Chamber is inviting Merrill area businesses, organizations or individuals to sponsor a tree and help them light up the courthouse lawn.
Sponsorship is easy to do, but different than last year’s Adopt-a-Tree. This year, you can sponsor a tree for a donation of $100. The trees will be decorated with white lights and large red bows on top. The Discover Downtown Merrill group has volunteered to erect and decorate the trees with the lights. Having lights on the courthouse trees/lawn is a Merrill tradition, but there are costs involved each year to make this happen. Currently, installation of the electrical panels and the cost of electricity will run nearly $800 this holiday season. And now having to do the forest of trees, new small white lights/LEDs will have to be purchased to decorate the trees.
“In the past, the old large bulbs were used to decorate and the electric/costs ran upwards of $2,000 each holiday season,” said Debbe Kinsey, chamber CEO. “Last year when the small lights were used, we saw our electric bills drop more than half from previous years. But purchasing the small lights means starting over and to do so, sponsorship of the trees is the only way to ensure that the lights do not go out on this holiday tradition.”
Donations are also being accepted in any amount for the electricity fund. Also, a tradition with the court house lights is Santa turning on all the trees with a flip of the magic switch immediately following the Annual Lighted Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 7.
To sponsor a tree or make a donation, contact the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation at (715) 536-9474. Sponsorship forms can also be found on their website www.merrillchamber.org.