A southwest Iowa community tradition begun partly as a memorial tribute to a long-time businesswoman in the town is flipping the switch on its 20th year.
Bus tours and other out-of-towners make a trip to the small city of Lenox, just south of Creston, this time of year to see nearly every house in town — and the city’s park — decorated in holiday lights. Dennis Bunch, the owner and operator of a hardware store in Lenox, says community leaders coined the phrase “bright lights and shining hospitality.”
A group of folks in Lenox decided they’d raise money to string Christmas lights in the city park. “We got some donations…and put lights on just about anything that would stand still in the park,” Bunch says.
Homeowners along the streets of the town often share a theme. One street, for example, calls itself “Candy Cane Lane” with lighted candy canes adorning nearly every lawn. “It’s a total community project,” Bunch says.
The displays in the city park have become more elaborate every year, and Bunch says this year’s addition is a secret. “I want people to come to Lenox to see what they are,” Bunch says.
Tonight, there’ll be a lighted parade in Lenox starting at seven o’clock. There’s a Christmas carnival with games for kids, and kids can enter a drawing for the chance to be the one who gets to flip the switch to turn on all the lights in the city park. “They feel like they have really done something when the lights come on,” Bunch says.
The switch is flipped when the parade ends, at about eight o’clock.